The Ellesmere ms of Chaucer's Canterbury tales / edited by Frederick J. Furnivall.

About this Item

The Ellesmere ms of Chaucer's Canterbury tales / edited by Frederick J. Furnivall.
Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400.
London :: Published for the Chaucer Society by N. Trübner,

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials are in the public domain. If you have questions about the collection, please contact If you have concerns about the inclusion of an item in this collection, please contact

DPLA Rights Statement: No Copyright - United States

Link to this Item
Cite this Item
"The Ellesmere ms of Chaucer's Canterbury tales / edited by Frederick J. Furnivall." In the digital collection Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed June 16, 2024.


Page 391

Scan of Page  391
View Page 391
[6-text p 168]



¶ Heere bigynneth the Shipmannes tale. . [Elles.] [folio 147b]

A Marchant whilom dwelled at Seint Denys, That riche was / for which men helde hym wys A wyf he hadde / of excellent beautee [[Painting of the Shipman, on the left.]] And compaignable / and reuelous was she Which is a thyng that causeth more dispence Than worth is / al the chiere and reuerence Line 1196 That men hem doon / at festes and at daunces Swiche salutacions / and contenaunces Passen / as dooth a shadwe vp on the wal But wo is hym / that payen moot for al Line 1200 The sely housbonde / algate he moste paye He moot vs clothe / and he moot vs arraye Al for his owene worship richely In which array / we daunce iolily Line 1204 And if þat he noght may / par auenture Or ellis / list no swich dispence endure But thynketh / it is wasted / and ylost Thanne moot another / payen for oure cost Line 1208 Or lene vs gold / and that is perilous ¶ This noble Marchant heeld a worthy hous ffor which / he hadde alday so greet repair ffor his largesse / and for his wyf was fair Line 1212 That wonder is / but herkneth to my tale Amonges alle hise gestes / grete and smale Ther was a Monk a fair man and a boold I trowe of thritty wynter he was oold Line 1216 That euere in oon / was comynge to that place This yonge Monk / þat was so fair of face

Page 392

Scan of Page  392
View Page 392
[6-text p 169] Aqueynted was so / with the goode man Sith that / hir firste knoweliche bigan Line 1220 That in his hous / as famulier was he As it possible / any freend to be ¶ And for as muchel / as this goode man And eek this Monk of which þat I bigan Line 1224 Were bothe two / yborn in o village The Monk / hym claymeth / as for cosynage And he agayn / he seith nat ones nay But was as glad ther-of / as fowel of day Line 1228 ffor to his herte / it was a greet plesance Thus been they knyt with eterne alliance And ech of hem / gan oother for tassure Of bretherhede / whil þat hir lyf may dure Line 1232 ¶ ffree was Daun Iohn and namely of dispence [folio 148a] As in that hous / and ful of diligence To doon plesance / and also greet costage He noght forgat to yeue the leeste page Line 1236 In al the hous / but after hir degree He yaf the lord / and sitthe al his meynee Whan that he cam / som manere honest thyng ffor which / they were as glad of his comyng Line 1240 As fowel is fayn / whan þat the sonne vp riseth Na moore of this as now / for it suffiseth
But so bifel / this Marchant on a day Shoop hym / to make redy his array Line 1244 Toward / the toun of Brugges for to fare To byen there / a porcion of ware ffor which / he hath to Parys sent anon A Messager / and preyed hath daun Iohn Line 1248 That he sholde come / to Seint Denys to pleye With hym and with his wyf / a day or tweye Er he to Brugges wente / in alle wise ¶ This noble Monk of which I yow deuyse Line 1252 Hath of his Abbot as hym list licence By cause / he was a man / of heigh prudence

Page 393

Scan of Page  393
View Page 393
[6-text p 170] And eek an Officer / out for to ryde To seen hir graunges / and hire bernes wyde Line 1256 And vn-to Seint Denys / he comth anon Who was so welcome / as my lord Daun Iohn Oure deere cosyn / ful of curteisye With hym broghte he a Iubbe of Maluesye Line 1260 And eek another / ful of fyn vernage And volatyl / as ay was his vsage And thus / I lete hem drynke and pleye This Marchant and this Monk a day or tweye Line 1264 ¶ The thridde day / this Marchant vp ariseth And on hise nedes / sadly hym auyseth And vp / in to his Countour hous gooth he To rekene with hym self / wel may be Line 1268 Of thilke yeer / how þat it with hym stood And how þat he / despended hadde his good And if þat he / encressed were or noon Hise bookes / and his bagges many oon Line 1272 He leith biforn hym / on his countyng bord fful riche / was his tresor and his hord ffor which ful faste / his Countour dore he shette And eek he nolde / þat no man sholde hym lette Line 1276 Of hise accountes / for the meene tyme And thus he sit til it was passed pryme ¶ Daun Iohn was rysen / in the morwe also And in the gardyn / walketh to and fro Line 1280 And hath hise thynges seyd / ful curteisly [folio 148b] ¶ This goode wyf cam walkynge pryuely In to the gardyn / there he walketh softe And hym saleweth / as she hath doon ofte Line 1284 A mayde child / cam in hire compaignye Which as hir list she may gouerne and gye ffor yet vnder the yerde was the mayde O deere cosyn myn / daun Iohn she sayde Line 1288 What eyleth yow / so rathe for to ryse ¶ Nece quod he / it oghte ynough suffise

Page 394

Scan of Page  394
View Page 394
[6-text p 171] ffyue houres for to slepe / vp on a nyght But it were / for an old appalled wight Line 1292 As been thise wedded men / þat lye and dare As in a fourme / sit a wery hare Were al forstraught / with houndes grete and smale But deere Nece / why be ye so pale Line 1296 I trowe certes / that oure goode man Hath yow laboured / sith the nyght bigan That yow were nede / to resten hastily And with that word / he lough ful murily Line 1300 And of his owene thought he wax al reed ¶ This faire wyf gan for to shake hir heed And seyde thus / ye god woot al quod she Nay nay cosyn myn / it stant nat so with me Line 1304 ffor by that god / that yaf me soule and lyf/ In al the Reawme of ffrance / is ther no wyf That lasse lust hath / to that sory pley ffor I may synge / allas and weylawey Line 1308 That I was born / but to no wight quod she Dar I nat telle / how that it stant with me Wherfore I thynke / out of this land to wende Or elles / of my self to make an ende Line 1312 So ful am I / of drede / and eek of care ¶ This Monk bigan vp on this wyf to stare And / seyde / Allas my Nece god forbede That ye / for any sorwe / or any drede Line 1316 ffordo youre self / but tel me of youre grief Parauenture / I yow may / in youre meschief Conseille or helpe / and therfore telleth me All youre anoy / for it shal been secree Line 1320 ffor on my porthors / I make an ooth That neuere in my lyf / for lief ne looth Ne shal I / of no conseil yow biwreye ¶ The same agayn / to yow quod she I seye Line 1324 By god / and by this Porthors I yow swere Though men me wolde / al in to pieces tere

Page 395

Scan of Page  395
View Page 395
[6-text p 172] Ne shal I neuere / for to goon to helle Biwreye a word / of thyng þat ye me telle Line 1328 Nat for no cosynage / ne alliance [folio 149a] But verraily / for loue and affiance Thus been they sworn / and heer vpon they kiste And ech of hem / tolde oother what hem liste Line 1332 ¶ Cosyn quod she / if þat I hadde a space As I haue noon / and namely in this place Thanne wolde I telle / a legende of my lyf What I haue suffred / sith I was a wyf Line 1336 With myn housbonde / al be he of youre kyn ¶ Nay quod this Monk by god / and by seint Martyn He is / na moore cosyn vn-to me Than is this lief þat hangeth on the tree Line 1340 I clepe hym so / by Seint Denys of ffrance To haue / the moore cause of Aqueyntance Of yow / which I haue loued specially Abouen alle wommen sikerly Line 1344 This swere I yow / on my profession Telleth youre grief / lest þat he come adoun And hasteth yow / and gooth youre wey anon ¶ My deere loue quod she / o my daun Iohn Line 1348 fful lief were me / this conseil for to hyde But out it moot I may namoore abyde Myn housbonde / is to me the worste man That euere was / sith þat the world bigan Line 1352 But sith I am a wyf it sit nat me To tellen no wight / of oure priuetee Neither a bedde / ne in noon oother place God shilde / I sholde it tellen for his grace Line 1356 A wyf / ne shal nat seyn of hir housbonde But al honour / as I kan vnderstonde Saue vn to yow / thus muche I tellen shal As helpe me god / he is noght worth at al Line 1360 In no degree / the value of a flye But yet me greueth moost his nygardye

Page 396

Scan of Page  396
View Page 396
[6-text p 173] And wel ye woot þat wommen naturelly Desiren thynges sixe / as wel as I Line 1364 They wolde / that hir housbondes sholde be Hardy and wise / and riche and ther-to free And buxom vn to his wyf and fressh abedde But by that ilke lord / that for vs bledde Line 1368 ffor his honour / my self for to arraye A sonday next I moste nedes paye An hundred frankes / or ellis I am lorn Yet were me leuere / that I were vnborn Line 1372 Than me were doon / a sclaundre or vileynye And if myn housbonde / eek it myghte espye I nere but lost and therfore I yow preye Lene me this somme / or ellis moot I deye Line 1376 Daun Iohn I seye / lene me thise hundred frankes [folio 149b] Pardee / I wol nat faille yow my thankes If that yow list to doon that I yow praye ffor at a certeyn day / I wol yow paye Line 1380 And doon to yow / what plesance and seruice That I may doon / right as yow list deuise And but I do / god take on me vengeance As foul / as euere hadde Genylon of ffrance Line 1384 ¶ This gentil Monk / answerde in this manere Now trewely / myn owene lady deere I haue quod he / on yow so greet a routhe That I yow swere / and plighte yow my trouthe Line 1388 That whan youre housbonde / is to fflaundres fare I wol delyuere yow / out of this care ffor I wol brynge yow / an hundred frankes And with that word / he caughte hire by the flankes Line 1392 And hire embraceth harde / and kiste hire ofte Gooth now youre wey quod he / al stille and softe And lat us dyne / as soone as þat ye may ffor by my chilyndre / it is pryme of day Line 1396 Gooth now / and beeth as trewe as I shal be ¶ Now elles / god forbede sire quod she

Page 397

Scan of Page  397
View Page 397
[6-text p 174] And forth she gooth / as Iolif as a pye And bad the cookes / þat they sholde hem hye Line 1400 So þat men myghte dyne / and that anon Vp to hir housbonde / is this wyf ygon And knokketh / at his Countour boldely ¶ Who ther? quod he / Peter it am I. [¶ qi la?] Quod she / what sire / how longe wol ye faste? How longe tyme / wol ye rekene and caste? Youre sommes / and youre bookes / and youre thynges? The deuel haue part on alle swiche rekenynges Line 1408 Ye haue ynough pardee / of goddes sonde Com doun to day / and lat youre bagges stonde Ne be ye nat ashamed that Daun Iohn Shal fasting al this day alenge goon Line 1412 Lat vs heere a messe / and go we dyne ¶ Wyf quod this man / litel kanstow deuyne The curious bisynesse / that we haue ffor of vs Chapmen / al so god me saue Line 1416 And by that lord / þat clepid is Seint Yve Scarsly amonges .xij. ten shul thryue Continuelly / lastynge vn to oure age We may wel / make chiere / and good visage Line 1420 And dryue forth the world / as it may be And kepen / oure estaat in pryuetee Til we be deed / or elles that we pleye A pilgrymage / or goon out of the weye Line 1424 And therfore / haue I greet necessitee [folio 150a] Vp on this queynte world tauyse me ffor eueremoore / we moote stonde in drede Of hap and ffortune / in oure chapmanhede Line 1428 ¶ To fflaundres / wol I go / to morwe at day And come agayn / as soone as euere I may ffor which my deere wyf I thee biseke As be to euery wight buxom and meke Line 1432 And for to kepe oure good / be curious And honestly / gouerne wel oure hous

Page 398

Scan of Page  398
View Page 398
[6-text p 175] Thou hast ynough / in euery maner wise That / to a thrifty houshold may suffise Line 1436 Thee lakketh noon array / ne no vitaille Of siluer in thy purs / shaltow nat faille And with that word / his Countour dore he shette And doun he gooth / no lenger wolde he lette Line 1440 But hastily / a messe was ther seyd And spedily / the tables were yleyd And to the dyner / faste they hem spedde And richely / this Monk / the chapman fedde Line 1444 ¶ At after dyner / daun Iohn sobrely This Chapman took a-part and priuely He seyde hym thus / cosyn it standeth so That wel I se / to Brugges / wol ye go Line 1448 God and seint Austyn / spede yow and gyde I prey yow cosyn / wisely that ye ryde Gouerneth yow also / of youre diete Atemprely / and namely in this hete Line 1452 Bitwix vs two / nedeth no strange fare ffare wel cosyn / god shilde yow fro care And if þat any thyng by day or nyght If it lye in my power / and my myght Line 1456 That ye me wol comande in any wyse It shal be doon / right as ye wol deuyse ¶ O thyng er þat ye goon / if it may be I wolde prey yow / for to lene me Line 1460 An hundred frankes / for a wyke or tweye ffor certein beestes / þat I moste beye To stoore with a place þat is oures God helpe me so / I wolde it were youres Line 1464 I shal nat faille / surely at my day Nat for a thousand frankes a Mile way But lat this thyng be secree / I yow preye ffor yet to nyght / thise beestes moot I beye Line 1468 And fare now wel / myn owene cosyn deere Graunt mercy / of youre cost / and of youre cheere

Page 399

Scan of Page  399
View Page 399
[6-text p 176] ¶ This noble marchant / gentilly anon Answerde / and seyde o cosyn myn Daun Iohn Line 1472 Now sikerly / this is a smal requeste [folio 150b] My gold is youres / whan þat it yow leste And nat oonly my gold / but my chaffare Take what yow list god shilde þat ye spare Line 1476 ¶ But o thyng is / ye knowe it wel ynogh Of Chapmen / that hir moneie is hir plogh We may creaunce / whil we haue a name But goldlees for to be / it is no game Line 1480 Paye it agayn / whan it lith in youre ese After my myght / ful fayn wolde I yow plese ¶ Thise hundred frankes / he fette hym forth anon And priuely / he took hem to daun Iohn Line 1484 No wight in al this world / wiste of this loone Sauynge this Marchant / and daun Iohn alloone They drynke / and speke / and rome a while and pleye Til þat daun Iohn / rideth to his Abbeye Line 1488
The morwe cam / and forth this Marchant rideth To fflaundres ward / his prentys wel hym gydeth Til he cam / in to Brugges murily Now gooth this Marchant faste and bisily Line 1492 Aboute his nede / and byeth and creaunceth He neither / pleyeth at dees ne daunceth But as a Marchant shortly for to telle He let his lyf / and there I lete hym dwelle Line 1496
The sonday next this Marchant was agon To seint Denys / ycomen is Daun Iohn With crowne and berde all fressh and newe y-shaue In al the hous / ther nas so litel a knaue Line 1500 Ne no wight elles / þat he nas ful fayn That my lord Daun Iohn / was come agayn And shortly / right to the point for to gon This faire wyf accorded with daun Iohn Line 1504 That for thise hundred frankes / he sholde al nyght Haue hire in hise armes / bolt upright

Page 400

Scan of Page  400
View Page 400
[6-text p 177] And this acord / parfourned was in dede In myrthe al nyght a bisy lyf they lede Line 1508 Til it was day / þat Daun Iohn wente his way And bad the meynee / fare wel haue good day ffor noon of hem / ne no wight in the toun Hath of daun Iohn / right no suspecioun Line 1512 And forth he rydeth / hoom to his Abbeye Or where hym list. namoore of hym I seye
This Marchant whan þat ended was the faire To Seint Denys / he gan for to repaire Line 1516 And with his wyf he maketh feeste and cheere And telleth hire / that Chaffare is so deere That nedes / moste he make a cheuyssance ffor he was bounden / in a reconyssance Line 1520 To paye twenty thousand sheeld anon [folio 151a] ffor which / this Marchant is to Parys gon To borwe / of certeine freendes þat he hadde A certeyn frankes / and somme with him he ladde Line 1524 And whan þat he was come / in to the toun ffor greet chiertee / and greet affectioun Vn to daun Iohn / he gooth hym first to pleye Nat for to axe / or borwe of hym moneye Line 1528 But for to wite / and seen of his welfare And for to tellen hym / of his chaffare As freendes doon / whan they been met yfeere Daun Iohn / hym maketh feeste and murye cheere Line 1532 And he hym tolde agayn / ful specially How he hadde wel yboght and graciously Thanked be god / al hool his marchandise Saue þat he moste / in alle maner wise Line 1536 Maken a cheuyssance / as for his beste And thanne / he sholde been / in ioye and reste ¶ Daun Iohn answerde / certes I am fayn That ye in heele / ar comen hom agayn Line 1540 And if þat I were riche / as haue I blisse Of twenty thousand sheeld / shold ye nat mysse

Page 401

Scan of Page  401
View Page 401
[6-text p 178] ffor ye / so kyndely / this oother day Lente me gold / and as I kan and may Line 1544 I thanke yow / by god and by seint Iame But nathelees / I took vn to oure dame Youre wyf / at hom / the same gold ageyn Vpon youre bench / she woot it wel certeyn Line 1548 By certeyn tokenes / that I kan yow telle Now by youre leue / I may no lenger dwelle Oure Abbot wole out of this toun anon And in his compaignye / moot I goon Line 1552 Grete wel oure dame / myn owene Nece sweete And fare wel deere cosyn / til we meete
This Marchant which þat was ful war and wys Creanced hath / and payd eek in Parys Line 1556 To certeyn lumbardes / redy in hir hond [.i. obligacionem] The somme of gold / and hadde of hem his bond And hoom he gooth / murie / as a Papeiay ffor wel he knew / he stood in swich array Line 1560 That nedes moste he wynne in that viage A thousand frankes / abouen al his costage ¶ His wyf ful redy / mette hym atte gate As she was wont of oold vsage algate Line 1564 And al that nyght in myrthe they bisette ffor he was riche / and cleerly out of dette Whan it was day / this Marchant gan embrace His wyf / al newe / and kiste hire on hir face Line 1568 And vp he gooth / and maketh it ful tough [folio 151b] ¶ Namoore quod she / by god ye haue ynough And wantownely agayn / with hym she pleyde ¶ Til atte laste / this Marchant seyde Line 1572 By god quod he / I am a litel wrooth With yow my wyf / al-though it were me looth And woot ye why / by god as þat I gesse That ye han maad / a manere straungenesse Line 1576 Bitwixen me / and my cosyn daun Iohn Ye sholde han warned me / er I had gon

Page 402

Scan of Page  402
View Page 402
[6-text p 179] That he yow hadde / an hundred frankes payed By redy tokene / and heeld hym yuele apayed Line 1580 ffor þat I to hym spak of cheuyssance Me semed so / as by his contenance But nathelees / by god oure heuene kyng I thoughte nat to axen hym no thyng Line 1584 I prey thee wyf / as do namoore so Telle me alwey / er that I fro thee go If any dettour / hath in myn absence Ypayed thee / lest thurgh thy necligence Line 1588 I myghte hym axe / a thing that he hath payed ¶ This wyf was nat afered nor affrayed But boldely she seyde / and that anon Marie / I deffie / the false Monk / daun Iohn Line 1592 I kepe nat of hise tokenes / neuer a deel He took me certeyn gold / that woot I wee What yuel thedam / on his Monkes snowte ffor god it woot I wende withouten doute Line 1596 That he hadde yeue it me / bycause of yow To doon ther-with / myn honour and my prow ffor cosynage / and eek for beele cheere That he hath had / ful ofte tymes heere Line 1600 But sith I se / I stonde in this disioynt I wol answere yow / shortly to the poynt ¶ Ye han mo slakkere dettours / than am I ffor I wol paye yow / wel and redily Line 1604 ffor day to day / and if so be I faille I am youre wyf score it vp-on my taille And I shal paye / as soone as euer I may ffor by my trouthe / I haue on myn array Line 1608 And nat on wast bistowed euery deel And for I haue / bistowed it so weel ffor youre honour / for goddes sake I seye As be nat wrooth / but lat vs laughe and pleye Line 1612 Ye shal / my ioly body / haue to wedde By god I wol nat paye yow but a bedde

Page 403

Scan of Page  403
View Page 403
[6-text p 180] fforgyue it me / myn owene spouse deere Turne hiderward / and maketh bettre cheere Line 1616 ¶ This Marchant saugh / ther was no remedie [folio 152a] And for to chide / it nere but greet folie Sith that the thyng may nat amended be Now wyf he seyde / and I foryeue it thee Line 1620 But by thy lyf ne be namoore so large Keepe bet oure good / that yeue I thee in charge Thus endeth my tale / and god vs sende Taillynge ynough / vn-to oure lyues ende Amen . Line 1624
¶ Heere endeth / the Shipmannes tale .

Page 404

Scan of Page  404
View Page 404
[6-text p 181]
¶ Bihoold the murie wordes of the Hoost to the Shipman and to the lady Prioresse. [on leaf 152]
Wel seyd by corpus dominus quod our Hoost Now longe / moote thou saille by the cost Sire gentil maister / gentil Maryneer God yeue this Monk / a thousand last quade yeer Line 1628 A ha felawes / beth ware of swiche a Iape The Monk putte / in the mannes hood an Ape And in his wyues eek by Seint Austyn Draweth no Monkes / moore vn to youre In Line 1632 ¶ But now passe ouer / and lat vs seke aboute Who shal now / telle first of al this route Another tale / and with that word he sayde As curteisly / as it had ben a mayde Line 1636 My lady Prioresse / by youre leue So that I wiste / I sholde yow nat greue I wolde demen / that ye tellen sholde A tale next if so were that ye wolde Line 1640 Now wol ye vouche sauf my lady deere ¶ Gladly quod she / and seyde as ye shal heere
¶ Explicit. .

Page 405

Scan of Page  405
View Page 405
[6-text p 182]

¶ The prologe of the Prioresses tale. . [on leaf 152]

Domine dominus noster.
O lord oure lord / thy name how merueillous Is in this large world / ysprad quod she ffor noght oonly / thy laude precious Parfourned is / by men of dignitee Line 1646 But by the mouth of children / thy bountee Parfourned is / for on the brest soukynge Somtyme / shewen they thyn heriynge Line 1649
Wherfore in laude / as I best kan or may [folio 152b] Of thee / and of the lylye flour Which that the bar / and is a mayde alway To telle a storie / I wol do my labour Line 1653 Nat that I may / encreessen hir honour sfor she hir self / is honour and the roote Of bountee next hir sone / and soules boote Line 1656
O mooder mayde / o mayde mooder fre O bussh vnbrent brennynge in Moyses sighte That rauysedest doun fro the deitee Thurgh thyn humblesse / the goost þat in thalighte Line 1660 Of whos vertu / whan he thyn herte lighte Conceyued was / the fadres sapience Helpe me / to telle it in thy reuerence Line 1663
Lady / thy bountee / thy magnificence Thy vertu / and thy grete humylitee Ther may no tonge expresse / in no science ffor somtyme lady / er men praye to thee Line 1667 Thou goost biforn / of thy benyngnytee And getest vs / thurgh lyght of thy preyere To gyden vs / vn to thy sone so deere Line 1670

Page 406

Scan of Page  406
View Page 406
[6-text p 183] Line 1670
My konnyng is so wayk o blisful queene ffor to declare / thy grete worthynesse That I ne may / the weighte nat susteene But as a child / of twelf / monthe oold or lesse Line 1674 That kan vnnethe / any word expresse Right so fare I / and therfore I yow preye Gydeth my song þat I shal of yow seye Line 1677
¶ Explicit .

¶ Heere bigynneth the Prioresses tale.

Ther was in Asye / in a greet Citee [[Painting of the Prioress on the left]] Amonges cristene folk / a Iewerye Sustened / by a lord / of that contree ffor foule vsure / and lucre of vileynye [¶ turpe lucrum. .] Hateful / to Crist and to his compaignye And thurgh the strete / men myghte ride or wende ffor it was free / and open at eyther ende Line 1684
A litel scole / of cristen folk ther stood [folio 153a] Doun at the ferther ende / in which ther were Children an heepe / ycomen of cristen blood That lerned in that scole / yeer by yere Line 1688 Swich manere doctrine / as men vsed there This is to seyn / to syngen / and to rede As smale children doon / in hire childhede Line 1691
Among thise children / was a wydwes sone A litel clergeon / seuen yeer of age That day by day / to scole was his wone And eek also / where as he saugh thymage Line 1695 Of Cristes mooder he hadde in vsage As hym was taught to knele adoun and seye His Aue Marie / as he goth by the weye Line 1698

Page 407

Scan of Page  407
View Page 407
[6-text p 184] Line 1698
Thus hath this wydwe / hir litel sone ytaught Oure blisful lady cristes mooder deere To worshipe ay / and he forgate it naught ffor sely child / wol alday soone leere Line 1702 But ay / whan I remembre on this mateere Seint Nicholas / stant euere in my presence ffor he so yong to Crist dide reuerence Line 1705
This litel child his litel book lernynge As he sat in the scole / at his prymer He / Alma redemptoris / herde synge As children / lerned hire Anthiphoner Line 1709 And as he dorste / he drough hym ner and ner And herkned ay / the wordes and the noote Til he the firste vers / koude al by rote Line 1712
Noght wiste he / what this latyn was to seye ffor he so yong and tendre was of age But on a day / his felawe gan he preye Texpounden hym this song in his langage Line 1716 Or telle hym / why this song was in vsage This preyde he hym / to construe and declare fful often tyme / vpon hise knowes bare Line 1719
His felawe / which that elder was than he Answerde hym thus / this song I haue herd seye Was maked / of oure blisful lady free Hire to salue / and eek hire for to preye Line 1723 To been oure help / and socour whan we deye I kan na moore / expounde in this mateere I lerne song I kan but smal grammeere Line 1726
¶ And is this song maked in reuerence [folio 153b] Of cristes mooder seyde / this Innocent Now certes / I wol do my diligence To konne it al / er Cristemasse is went Line 1730

Page 408

Scan of Page  408
View Page 408
[6-text p 185] Line 1730 Though þat / I for my prymer shal be shent And shal be beten / thries in an houre I wol it konne / oure lady for to honoure Line 1733
His felawe / taughte hym homward priuely ffro day to day / til he koude it by rote And thanne / he song it wel and boldely ffro word to word to word acordynge with the note Line 1737 Twies a day / it passed thurgh his throte To scoleward and homward whan he wente On cristes mooder / set was his entente Line 1740
¶ As I haue seyd / thurgh out the Iuerie This litel child / as he cam to and fro fful murily / wolde he synge and crie O Alma redemptoris / euere mo Line 1744 The swetnesse / his herte perced so Of cristes mooder / that to hire to preye He kan nat stynte / of syngyng by the weye Line 1747
Ovre firste foo / the serpent Sathanas [¶ Auctor] That hath / in Iues herte his waspes nest Vp swal / and seide / o. hebrayk peple allas Is this to yow / a thyng þat is honest Line 1751 That swich a boy / shal walken as hym lest In youre despit and synge of swich sentence Which is / agayn oure lawes reuerence Line 1754
ffro thennes forth / the Iues han conspired This Innocent out of this world to chace An homycide / ther to / han they hyred That in an Aleye / hadde a priuee place Line 1758 And as the child / gan forby for to pace This cursed Iew hym hente / and heeld hym faste And kitte his throte / and in a pit hym caste Line 1761

Page 409

Scan of Page  409
View Page 409
[6-text p 186] Line 1761
I seye / that in a wardrobe / they hym threwe Where as thise Iewes / purgen hire entraille O cursed folk / of Herodes al newe What may youre yuel entente yow auaille Line 1765 Mordre wol out certeyn / it wol nat faille And namely / ther thonour of god shal sprede The blood out crieth / on youre cursed dede Line 1768
¶ O martir / sowded to virginitee [folio 154a] Now maystow syngen / folwynge euere in oon The white lamb celestial quod she Of which / the grete Euaungelist Seint Iohn Line 1772 In Pathmos wroot which seith / þat they þat goon Biforn this lamb / and synge a song al newe [i. carnaliter] That neuere fleshly / wommen they ne knewe Line 1775
¶ This poure wydwe / awaiteth al that nyght After hir litel child / but he cam noght ffor which as soone / as it was dayes lyght With face pale of drede / and bisy thoght Line 1779 She hath at scole / and elles where hym soght Til finally / she gan so fer espie That he / last seyn was in the Iuerie Line 1782
With moodres pitee / in hir brest enclosed She gooth / as she were half / out of hir mynde To euery place / where she hath supposed By liklihede / hir litel child to fynde Line 1786 And euere / on Cristes mooder/ meeke and kynde She cride / and atte laste / thus she wroghte Among the cursed Iues / she hym soghte Line 1789
She frayneth / and she preyeth pitously To euery Iew / þat dwelte in thilke place To telle hire / if hir child / wente oght forby They seyde nay / but Ihesu of his grace Line 1793

Page 410

Scan of Page  410
View Page 410
[6-text p 187] Line 1793 Yaf in hir thoght inwith a litel space That in that place / after hir sone she cryde Where he was casten / in a pit bisyde Line 1796
O grete god / that parfournest thy laude [¶ Auctor] By mouth of Innocentz / lo heere thy myght This gemme of chastite / this Emeraude And eek of martirdom / the Ruby bright Line 1800 Ther he with throte ykoruen lay vpright He Alma redemptoris / gan to synge So loude / þat al the place gan to rynge Line 1803
¶ The cristene folk / that thurgh the strete wente In coomen / for to wondre vp on this thyng And hastily / they for the Prouost sente He cam anon / with outen tariyng Line 1807 And herieth Crist that is of heuene kyng And eek his mooder / honour of mankynde And after that / the Iewes leet he bynde Line 1810
¶ This child / with pitous lamentacion [folio 154b] Vp taken was / syngynge his song alway And with honour/ of greet procession They carien hym / vn to the nexte Abbay Line 1814 His mooder swownynge / by his beere lay Vnnethe / myghte the peple þat was theere This newe Rachel / brynge fro his beere Line 1817
¶ With torment and with shameful deeth echon This Prouost dooth the Iewes for to sterue That of this mordre wiste / and that anon He nolde / no swich cursednesse obserue Line 1821 Yuele shal he haue / þat yuele wol deserue Therfore / with wilde hors / he dide hem drawe And after that he heng hem by the lawe Line 1824

Page 411

Scan of Page  411
View Page 411
[6-text p 188] Line 1824
¶ Vp on this beere / ay lith this Innocent Biforn the chief Auter / whil the masse laste And after that the Abbot with his Couent Han sped hem / for to burien hym ful faste Line 1828 And whan they / hooly water on hym caste Yet spak this child / whan spreynd was hooly water And song O Alma redemptoris mater. Line 1831
¶ This Abbot which þat was an hooly man As Monkes been / or elles oghte be This yonge child / to coniure he bigan And seyde o deere child I halsen thee Line 1835 In vertu / of the hooly Trinitee Tel me / what is thy cause / for to synge Sith þat thy throte is kut to my semynge Line 1838
¶ My throte is kut vn to my nekke boon Seyde this child and as by wey of kynde I sholde haue dyed / ye longe tyme agon But Ihesu crist / as ye in bookes fynde Line 1842 Wil þat his glorie / laste / and be in mynde And for the worship / of his mooder deere Yet may I synge / O Alma / loude and cleere Line 1845
¶ This welle of mercy Cristes mooder sweete I loued alwey / as after my konnynge And whan þat I my lyf / sholde forlete To me she cam / and bad me for to synge Line 1849 This Anthephen / verraily / in my deyynge As ye han herd / and whan þat I hadde songe Me thoughte / she leyde a greyn vp on my tonge Line 1852
Wherfore I synge / and synge I moot certeyn [folio 155a] In honour / of that blisful mayden free Til fro my tonge / of taken is the greyn And afterward / thus seyde she to me Line 1856

Page 412

Scan of Page  412
View Page 412
[6-text p 189] Line 1856 My litel child / now wol I fecche thee Whan þat the greyn / is fro thy tonge ytake Be nat agast I wol thee nat forsake Line 1859
¶ This hooly Monk this Abbot hym meene I His tonge out caughte / and took a-wey the greyn And he yaf vp the goost ful softely And whan this Abbot hadde this wonder seyn Line 1863 Hise salte teeris / trikled doun as reyn And gruf he fil / al plat vp on the grounde And stille he lay / as he had leyn ybounde Line 1866
The Couent eek / lay on the pauement Wepynge / and heryen cristes mooder deere And after that / they ryse and forth been went And tooken awey / this martir from his beere Line 1870 And in a temple / of Marbul stones cleere Enclosen they / his litel body sweete Ther he is now / god leue us alle for to meete Line 1873
¶ O yonge Hugh of Lyncoln slayn also With cursed Iewes / as it is notable ffor it is / but a litel while ago Preye eek / for vs / we synful folk vnstable Line 1877 That of his mercy / god so merciable On vs / his grete mercy multiplie ffor reuerence / of his mooder Marie Amen . Line 1880
¶ Heere is ended / the Prioresses Tale .

Page 413

Scan of Page  413
View Page 413
[6-text p 190]
¶ Bihoold the murye wordes of the Hoost to Chaucer . [on leaf 155]
WHan seyd was al this miracle / euery man As sobre was / that wonder was to se Til that oure hoost Iapen to bigan [.s. Chaucer] And thanne at erst he looked vp on me Line 1884 And seyde thus / what man artow quod he? Thou lookest as thou woldest fynde an hare ffor euere / vp on the ground / I se thee stare Line 1887
Approche neer / and looke vp murily [folio 155b] Now war yow sires / and lat this man haue place He in the waast is shape / as wel as .I. [.i. henry Bailly] This were a popet in an Arm tenbrace Line 1891 ffor any womman smal / and fair of face He semeth eluyssh / by his contenance ffor vn to no wight / dooth he daliance Line 1894
Sey now somwhat syn oother folk han sayd Telle vs a tale / of myrthe / and that anon Hoost quod I / ne beth nat yuele apayd ffor oother tale / certes kan I noon Line 1898 But of a rym / I lerned longe agoon [.i. hoost] Ye that is good quod he / now shul ye heere Som deyntee thyng me thynketh by his cheere Line 1901
¶ Explicit .

Page 414

Scan of Page  414
View Page 414
[6-text p 191]

¶ Heere bigynneth Chaucers tale of Thopas. [on leaf 155, bk]

[The First Fit.]

[Each third line is on the right of its couple, in the MS.]

Listeth lordes in good entent And I wol telle verrayment Of myrthe and of solas Line 1904 Al of a knyght / was fair and gent In bataille / and in tourneyment His name was sire Thopas Line 1907
¶ Yborn he was / in fer contree In flaundres / al biyonde the see At Poperyng in the place Line 1910 His fader was / a man ful free And lord he was / of that contree As it was goddes grace Line 1913
¶ Sire Thopas / wax a doghty swayn Whit was his face as Payndemayn Hise lippes rede as rose Line 1916 His rode is lyk / scarlet in grayn And I yow telle / in good certayn He hadde / a semely nose Line 1919
¶ His heer / his berd / was lyk saffroun That to his girdel raughte adoun Hise shoos of Cordewane Line 1922 Of Brugges / were his hosen broun His Robe / was of Syklatoun That coste many a Iane Line 1925

Page 415

Scan of Page  415
View Page 415
[6-text p 192] Line 1925
¶ He koude hunte / at wilde deer And ride an haukyng for Riuer With grey goshauk on honde Line 1928 Ther-to he was / a good Archeer Of wrastlyng was ther noon his peer Ther any Ram shal stonde Line 1931
¶ fful many a mayde / bright in bour They moorne for hym paramour Whan hem were bet to slepe Line 1934 But he was chaast and no lechour And sweete as is the Brembul flour That bereth the rede hepe Line 1937
And so bifel vp on a day ffor sothe / as I yow telle may Sire Thopas / wolde out ride Line 1940 He worth / vpon his steede gray And in his hand a launcegay A long swerd / by his side Line 1943
¶ He priketh / thurgh a fair forest [folio 156a] Ther Inne / is many a wilde best Ye bothe bukke and hare Line 1946 And as he priketh North and Est I telle it yow / hym hadde almest Bitidde / a sory care Line 1949
¶ Ther spryngen herbes / grete and smale The lycorys and Cetewale And many a clowe gylofre Line 1952 And Notemuge / to putte in Ale Wheither it be moyste / or stale Or for to leye in cofre Line 1955

Page 416

Scan of Page  416
View Page 416
[6-text p 193] Line 1955
¶ The briddes synge / it is no nay The sparhauk and the papeiay That ioye it was to heere Line 1958 The thrustelcok / made eek hir lay The wodedowue / vp on a spray She sang ful loude and cleere Line 1961
¶ Sire Thopas fil in loue longynge Al whan he herde / the thrustel synge And pryked / as he were wood Line 1964 His faire steede in his prikynge So swatte / þat men myghte him wrynge His sydes / were al blood Line 1967
¶ Sire Thopas eek / so wery was ffor prikyng on the softe gras So fiers was his corage Line 1970 That doun he leyde him in that plas To make his steede som solas And yaf hym good forage Line 1973
¶ O seinte Marie benedicite What eyleth / this loue at me To bynde me so soore Line 1976 Me dremed / al this nyght pardee An elf queene / shal my lemman be And slepe vnder my goore Line 1979
¶ An Elf queene / wol I loue ywis ffor in this world / no womman is Worthy to be my make? Line 1982 In towne ¶ Alle othere wommen I forsake And to an Elf queene I me take By dale and eek by downe Line 1986

Page 417

Scan of Page  417
View Page 417
[6-text p 194] Line 1986
¶ In to his sadel / he clamb anon And priketh ouer stile and stoon An Elf queene for tespye Line 1989 Til he so longe / hadde riden and goon That he foond / in a pryue woon The contree of ffairye Line 1992 so wilde ffor in that contree was ther noon? . . . . . [no gap in the MS.] Neither wyf ne childe Line 1996
¶ Til þat ther cam a greet geaunt His name was / sire Olifaunt A perilous man of dede Line 1999 He seyde child by Termagaunt / But if thou prike / out of myn haunt Anon I sle thy steede Line 2002 with mace ¶ Heere is / the queene of ffairye With harpe / and pipe and symphonye Dwellynge in this place Line 2006
¶ The child seyde / Al so moote I thee Tomorwe / wol I meete with thee Whan I haue myn Armoure Line 2009 ¶ And yet I hope / par ma fay That thou shalt with this launcegay Abyen it ful sowre Line 2012 Thy mawe Thyn hauberk / shal I percen / if I may [[all over an erasure]] Er it be fully pryme of day ffor heere thow shalt be slawe Line 2016

Page 418

Scan of Page  418
View Page 418
[6-text p 195] Line 2016
¶ Sire Thopas / drow abak ful faste This geant at hym stones caste Out of a fel staf slynge Line 2019 ¶ But faire escapeth sire Thopas And al it was thurgh goddes gras And thurgh his fair berynge Line 2022
Yet listeth / lordes / to my tale [folio 156b] Murier than the Nightyngale I wol yow rowne Line 2025 How sir Thopas / with sydes smale Prikyng ouer hill and dale Is comen agayn to towne Line 2028
¶ His murie men / comanded he To make hym / bothe game and glee ffor nedes / moste he fighte Line 2031 With a geaunt with heuedes three ffor paramour and Iolitee Of oon / that shoon ful brighte Line 2034
¶ Do come he seyde / my Mynstrales And geestours / for to tellen tales Anon in myn Armynge Line 2037 Of Romances / that been Roiales Of Popes / and of Cardinales And eek of loue likynge Line 2040
¶ They sette hym first sweete wyn And Mede eek in a Mazelyn And Roial spicerye Line 2043 And Gyngebreed / þat was ful fyn And lycorys and eek Comyn With sugre þat is so trye Line 2046

Page 419

Scan of Page  419
View Page 419
[6-text p 196] Line 2046
¶ He dide / next his white leere Of clooth of lake / fyn and cleere A breech / and eek a sherte Line 2049 And next his sherte an Aketon And ouer that an haubergeon ffor percynge of his herte Line 2052
¶ And ouer that / a fyn hawberk Was al ywroght of Iewes werk fful strong it was of plate Line 2055 And ouer that his cote Armour As whit as is / a lilye flour In which / he wol debate Line 2058
¶ His sheeld / was al / of gold so reed And ther Inne / was a bores heed A Charbocle bisyde Line 2061 And there he swoor / on ale and breed How þat the geaunt shal be deed Bityde what bityde Line 2064
¶ Hise Iambeux were of quyrboilly His swerdes shethe of Yuory His helm of laton bright Line 2067 His sadel was of Rewel boon His brydel / as the sonne shoon Or as the moone light Line 2070
¶ His spere it was / of fyn Ciprees That bodeth werre / and no thyng pees The heed / ful sharpe ygrounde Line 2073 ¶ His steede was / al dappull gray It gooth an Ambil in the way fful softely and rounde Line 2076

Page 420

Scan of Page  420
View Page 420
[6-text p 197] Line 2076
In londe ¶ Loo lordes myne / heere is a fit If ye wol any moore of it To telle it / wol I fonde Line 2080
[The Second Fit.]
NOw holde youre mouth par charitee Bothe knyght and lady free And herkneth to my spelle Line 2083 ¶ Of batailles / and of Chiualry And of ladyes / loue drury Anon I wol yow telle Line 2086
¶ Men speken of Romances of prys Of Hornchild / and of Ypotys Of Beves and of sir Gy Line 2089 Of sir lybeux and pleyn damour But sir Thopas / he bereth the flour Of Roial Chiualry Line 2092
¶ His goode Steede / al he bistrood And forth / vpon his wey he rood As sparcle / out of the bronde Line 2095 ¶ Vp on his Creest He bar a tour [folio 157a] And ther Inne / stiked a lilie flour God shilde his cors fro shonde Line 2098
¶ And for he was / a knyght Auntrous He nolde slepen / in noon hous But liggen in his hoode Line 2101 ¶ His brighte helm / was his wonger And by hym / baiteth his dextrer Of herbes fyne and goode Line 2104

Page 421

Scan of Page  421
View Page 421
[6-text p 198] Line 2104
¶ Hym self / drank water of the well As dide the knyght sire Percyuell So worly vnder wede ¶ Til on a day Line 2108

Page 422

Scan of Page  422
View Page 422
[6-text p 199]

¶ Heere the Hoost stynteth Chaucer / of his tale of Thopas.

Na moore of this / for goddes dignitee Quod oure hoost for thou makest me So wery / of thy verray lewednesse That also wisly / god my soule blesse Line 2112 Min eres aken / of thy drasty speche Now swich a Rym / the deuel I biteche This may wel / be Rym dogerel quod he ¶ Why so quod I / why wiltow lette me? Line 2116 Moore of my tale / than another man Syn that it is / the beste tale I kan ¶ By god quod he / for pleynly at a word Thy drasty rymyng / is nat worth a toord Line 2120 Thou doost noght elles / but despendest tyme Sire at o word / thou shalt no lenger ryme Lat se / wher thou kanst tellen aught in geeste Or telle in prose / somwhat at the leeste Line 2124 In which ther be som murthe / or som doctryne ¶ Gladly quod I / by goddes sweete pyne I wol yow telle / a litel thyng in prose That oghte liken yow / as I suppose Line 2128 Or elles certes / ye been to daungerous It is a moral tale vertuous Al be it take somtyme / in sondry wyse Of sondry folk as I shal yow deuyse Line 2132 ¶ As thus / ye woot þat euery Euaungelist/ That telleth vs / the peyne of Ihesu crist Ne seith nat alle thyng as his felawe dooth But nathelees / hir sentence is al sooth Line 2136 And alle acorden / as in hire sentence Al be ther / in hir tellyng difference

Page 423

Scan of Page  423
View Page 423
[6-text p 200] ffor somme of hem seyn moore / and somme seyn lesse Whan they / his pitous passioun expresse Line 2140 I meene / of Mark Mathew / Luc and Iohn But doutelees / hir sentence is all oon ¶ Therfore lordynges alle / I yow biseche [folio 157b] If þat yow thynke / I varie as in my speche Line 2144 As thus / though that I telle som what moore Of prouerbes / than ye han herd bifoore Comprehended / in this litel tretys heere To enforce with / theffect of my mateere Line 2148 And though I / nat the same wordes seye As ye han herd / yet to yow alle I preye Blameth me nat for as in my sentence Shul ye / nowher / fynden difference Line 2152 ffro the sentence / of this tretys lyte After the which / this murye tale I write And therfore / herkneth / what þat I shal seye And lat me tellen / al my tale I preye Line 2156
¶ Explicit .

Page 424

Scan of Page  424
View Page 424
[6-text p 201]

¶ Heere bigynneth Chaucers tale of Melibee .

[There are no line-numbers or breaks between the paragraphs in the MS. Tyrwhitt's breaks are kept here to prevent slight differences in the Six Texts throwing out many lines. ‖ stands for a triangular pause-mark in the MS.]

[Ellesmere MS, on leaf 157, back.]

[2157] [[Painting of Chaucer on horseback.]]

A Yong man called Melibeus myghty and riche / bigat vp on his wyf that called was Prudence / a doghter which that called was Sophie /.

[2158] Vpon a day bifel þat he / for his desport/ is went in to the feeldes hym to pleye / [2159] his wyf / and eek his doghter / hath he left inwith his hous / of which the dores / weren fast yshette [2160] ¶ thre of hise olde foes / han it espyed and setten laddres / to the walles of his hous / and by wyndowes been entred / [2161] and betten his wyf / and wounded his doghter with fyue mortal woundes in fyue sondry places [2162] ¶ this is to seyn / in hir feet. in hire handes /. in hir erys /. in hir nose /. and in hire mouth and leften hire for deed / and wenten awey

[2163] ¶ Whan Melibeus / retourned was in to his hous / and saugh al this meschief? he lyk a mad man rentynge his clothes / gan to wepe and crie

[2164] ¶ Prudence his wyf / as ferforth as she dorste / bisoghte hym / of his wepyng for to stynte / [2165] but nat for-thy / he gan to crie and wepen euere lenger the moore

[2166] ¶ This noble wyf Prudence / remembred hire / vpon the sentence of Ouide / in his book / that cleped is the remedie of loue ‖ where as he seith / [2167] he is a fool / [¶ Ouidius / de remedio amoris.] that destourbeth the mooder to wepen in the deeth of hire child / til she haue wept hir fille / as for a certein tyme [2168] ¶ And thanne / shal man doon his diligence with amyable wordes / hire to reconforte / and preyen hire of

Page 425

Scan of Page  425
View Page 425

[6-text p 202] hir wepyng for to stynte [2169] ¶ ffor which reson this noble wyf Prudence / suffred hir housbonde for to wepe and crie / as for a certein space /. [2170] And whan she saugh hir tyme / she seyde hym in this wise ¶ Allas / my lord quod she / why make ye youre self for to be lyk a fool / [2171] for sothe / it aperteneth nat to a wys man / to maken swiche a sorwe / [2172] youre [folio 158a] doghter / with the grace of god shal warisshe and escape / [2173] And al were it so / that she right now were deed? ye ne oughte nat as for hir deeth youre self to destroye [2174] ¶ Senek [¶ Seneca] seith / the wise man / shal nat take to greet disconfort for the deeth of his children / [2175] but certes / he sholde suffren it in pacience / as wel / as he / abideth the deeth / of his owene. propre persone

[2176] ¶ This Melibeus / answerde anon and seyde [¶ Melibeus] ¶ What man quod he sholde of his wepyng stente / that hath so greet a cause for to wepe? [2177] Ihesu crist [¶ Qualiter Ihesus christus fleuit propter mortem lazari] oure lord hym self wepte for the deeth of Lazarus hys freend [2178] ¶ Prudence answerde ‖. Certes wel I woot ‖ Attempree wepyng is no thyng deffended to hym þat sorweful is amonges folk in sorwe / but it is rather graunted hym to wepe [2179] ¶ The Apostle Paul vn-to the [¶ Apostolus Pau|lus ad Romanos] Romayns writeth ‖ Man shal reioyse with hem that maken ioye and wepen / with swich folk as wepen [2180] ¶ But though attempree wepyng be ygraunted / outrageous wepyng certes is deffended / [2181] Mesure of wepyng sholde be considered / after the loore þat techeth us Senek [¶ Seneca] [2182] ¶ Whan that thy frend is deed quod he / lat nat thyne eyen to moyste been of teeris / ne to muche drye / Al though the teeris come to thyne eyen / lat hem nat falle / [2183] And whan thou hast for-goon thy freend / do dili|gence to gete another freend / and this is moore wysdom / than for to wepe for thy freend which that thou hast lorn / for ther-Inne is no boote / [2184] And therfore / if ye gouerne yow by sapience / put awey sorwe / out of youre herte [2185] ¶ Remembre yow / þat Ihesus Syrak seith [¶ Ihesus Syrak]

Page 426

Scan of Page  426
View Page 426

[6-text p 203] ¶ A man that is ioyous and glad in herte / it hym con|serueth florissynge in his age / But soothly / sorweful herte / maketh hise bones drye [2186] ¶ He seith eek/ thus / That sorwe in herte / sleeth ful many a man [2187] ¶ Sa|lomon [¶ Salomon] seith / That right as Motthes in the shepes flees / anoyeth to the clothes / and the smale wormes to the tree / right so anoyeth sorwe to the herte / [2188] wherfore / vs oghte as wel in the deeth of oure children / as in the losse of oþere goodes temporels haue pacience

[2189] ¶ Remembre yow vp on the pacient Iob / [¶ Memorandum de lob] whan he hadde lost his children and his temporeel sub|stance / and in his body endured and receyued ful many a greuous tribulacion; yet seyde he thus [2190] ¶ Oure lord / [le m'a donné; nostre Seigneur] hath biraft it me / right as oure lord hath wold / right so it is doon / blessed be the name of oure lord [2191] ¶ To thise foreseide thynges / answerde Melibeus / vn to his wyf Prudence [¶ Melibeus] ¶ Alle thy wordes quod he been sothe / and therwith pro|fitable / but trewely / myn herte is troubled with this sorwe so greuously / that I noot what to doone [2192] ¶ Lat calle quod Prudence thy trewe freendes alle / and thy lynage / [¶ Prudence] whiche that been wise / telleth youre cas / and herkneth what they seye in conseillyng and yow gouerne after hire sentence [2193] ¶ Salomon seith / werk alle thy thynges [¶ Salomon] by conseil / and thou shalt neuer repente

[2194] ¶ Thanne by the conseil of his wyf Prudence / this Melibeus / leet callen a greet congregacion of folk/. [2195] as surgiens / Phisiciens olde folk and yonge / and somme of hise olde enemys reconsiled as by hir semblaunt to his loue / and in to his grace / [2196] and ther-with-al / ther coomen somme of hise neighebores / that diden hym reuerence / moore for drede than for loue / as it happeth ofte / [2197] ¶ Ther coomen also / ful many subtille flatereres and wise Aduocatz lerned in the lawe /

[2198] And whan this folk / togidre assembled weren / this Melibeus in sorweful wise / shewed hem his cas /

Page 427

Scan of Page  427
View Page 427

[6-text p 204] [2199] and by the manere of his [folio 158b] speche / it semed wel / that in herte / he baar a crueel Ire / redy to doon venge|ance vp on hise foes / and sodeynly desired / that the werre sholde bigynne / [2200] but nathelees / yet axed he hire conseil vpon this matiere [2201] ¶ A Surgien by licence and assent of swiche as weren wise / vp roos / and to Melibeus / seyde / as ye may heere

[2202] ¶ Sire quod he / as to vs Surgiens aperteneth / that we do to euery wight the beste that we kan / where as we been withholde / and to oure pacientz that we do no damage / [2203] wherfore it happeth many tyme and ofte / that whan twey men / han euerich wounded oother / oon same surgien heeleth hem bothe / [2204] wherfore / vn to oure Art it is nat pertinent to norice werre ne parties to supporte ‖. [2205] But certes / as to the warisshynge of youre doghter / al be it so / that she perilously be wounded / we shullen do so ententif bisynesse fro day to nyght that with the grace of god / she shal be hool and sound / as soone as is possible [2206] ¶ Almoost / right in the same wise / the Phisiciens answerden / saue that they seyden / a fewe woordes moore / [2207] That right as maladies / been cured by hir contraries ‖ right so / shul men warisshe werre by vengeance [2208] ¶ Hise neighe|bores ful of enuye / hise feyned freendes that semeden reconsiled / and hise flatereres / [2209] maden semblant of wepyng and empeireden and agreggeden muchel of this matiere in preisynge greetly Melibee / of myght / of power / of richesse / and of freendes despisynge / the power of hise Aduersaries / [2210] and seiden outrely that he anon sholde wreken hym on hise foes and bigynne werre

[2211] ¶ Vp roos thanne an Aduocat that was wys / by leue and by conseil of othere that were wise / and seide ‖. [2212] Lordynges / the nede for which we been assembled in this place / is a ful heuy thyng and an heigh matiere / [2213] by cause of the wrong and of the wikkednesse that hath be doon / and eek by reson of the grete damages that

Page 428

Scan of Page  428
View Page 428

[6-text p 205] in tyme comynge / been possible to fallen for this same cause / [2214] and eek by reson of the grete richesse and power of the parties bothe / [2215] for the whiche resons / it were a ful greet peril to erren in this matiere [2216] ¶ wherfore / Melibeus this is oure sentence / we conseille yow abouen alle thyng. that right anon / thou do thy diligence in kepynge of thy propre persone / in swich a wise þat thou wante noon espie / ne wacche / thy persone for to saue [2217] ¶ And after that we conseille þat in thyn hous / thou sette sufficeant garnison so that they may / as wel thy body as thyn hous defende [2218] ¶ But certes / for to moeue werre / or sodeynly for to doon vengeaunce / we may nat demen / in so litel tyme / that it were profit|able /. [2219] Wherfore we axen leyser and espace / to haue deliberacion in this cas to deme / [2220] ffor the commune prouerbe seith thus ¶ He that soone deemeth. soone shal [¶ Nota de Iudicibus & eorum Iudiciis] repente [2221] And eek men seyn / that thilke Iuge is wys that soone vnderstondeth a matiere and Iuggeth by leyser [2222] ¶ for al be it so that alle tariyng be anoyful / algates / it is nat to repreue in yeuynge of Iuggement ne in vengeance takyng whan it is sufficeant and resonable [2223] ¶ And that shewed oure lord Ihesu crist by en|sample / for whan that the womman / that was taken in Auowtrie was broght in his presence / to knowen / what sholde be doon with hire persone / al be it so that he wiste wel hym self / what that he wolde answere / yet ne wolde he nat answere sodeynly / but he wolde haue deliberacion / and in the ground [folio 159a] he wroot twies / [2224] and by thise causes / we axen deliberacion / and we shal thanne by the grace of god / conseille thee thyng / that shal be profitable /

[2225] ¶ Vp stirten thanne / the yonge folk atones / and the mooste partie of that compaignye scorned the olde wise men and bigonnen to make noyse / and seyden / that [2226] right so / as whil that Iren is hoot men sholden smyte / right so / men sholde wreken hir wronges / while

Page 429

Scan of Page  429
View Page 429

[6-text p 206] þat they been fresshe and newe / and with loud voys / they criden werre / werre

[2227] ¶ Vp roos tho / oon of thise olde wise / and with his hand made contenaunce / that men sholde holden hem stille and yeuen hym Audience [2228] ¶ Lordynges quod he / ther is ful many a man / that crieth werre werre / that woot ful litel what werre amounteth [2229] ¶ werre at his bigynnyng hath so greet an entryng and so large / that euery wight may entre whan hym liketh / and lightly fynde werre / [2230] but certes / what ende that shal ther-of bifalle / it is nat light to knowe ‖ [2231] ffor soothly / whan þat werre is ones bigonne / ther is ful many a child vnborn of his mooder / that shal sterue yong by cause of that ilke werre / or elles lyue in sorwe / and dye in wrecchednesse ‖. [2232] And ther fore / er þat any werre bigynne / men moste haue greet conseil and greet deliberacion [2233] ¶ And whan this olde man / wende / to enforcen his tale by resons / wel ny alle atones / bigonne they to rise for to breken his tale / and beden hym ful ofte / hise wordes for to abregge / [2234] ffor soothly / he that precheth to hem / that listen nat heeren hise wordes / his sermon hem anoieth [2235] ¶ ffor Ihesus Syrak seith / that Musik in wepynge is [¶ Ihesus Syrak/] anoyous thyng‖. this is to seyn ‖ As muche auailleth to speken bifore folk / to whiche his speche anoyeth / as it is to synge / biforn hym that wepeth ‖. [2236] And this wise man / saugh that hym wanted audience / and al shamefast he sette hym doun agayn [2237] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ ther [¶ Salomon] as thou ne mayst haue noon Audience / enforce thee nat to speke [2238] ¶ I see wel quod this wise man / þat the commune prouerbe is sooth ‖ That good conseil wanteth / whan it is moost [nede]

[2239] ¶ Yet hadde this Melibeus in his conseil / many folk that priuely in his eere conseilled hym certeyn thyng. and conseilled hym the contrarie in general Audience

[2240] Whan Melibeus hadde herd / that the gretteste [¶ Melibeus]

Page 430

Scan of Page  430
View Page 430

[6-text p 207] partie of his conseil / weren accorded þat he sholde maken werre / anoon / he consented to hir conseillyng and fully affermed hire sentence / [2241] Thanne dame Prudence / [¶ Prudence] whan þat she saugh / how that hir housbonde shoope hym for to wreken hym on hise foes / and to bigynne werre / she in ful humble wise / whan she saugh hir tyme / seide to hym thise wordes [2242] ¶ My lord quod she / I yow biseche as hertely as I dar and kan / ne haste yow nat to faste / and for alle gerdons / as yeueth me Audience [2243] ¶ ffor Piers Alfonce seith ¶ who so that dooth to [¶ Petrus] that oother good or harm / haste thee nat to quiten it. for in this wise thy freend wole abyde / and thyn enemy shal the lenger lyue in drede [2244] ¶ The prouerbe seith ‖ he hasteth wel that wisely kan abyde ‖ And in wikked haste / is no profit

[2245] This Melibee answerde vn to his wyf Prudence [¶ Melibee] ¶ I purpose nat quod he to werke by thy conseil / for many causes and resons ¶ ffor certes / euery wight wolde holde me thanne a fool [2246] ¶ this is to seyn / If I. for thy conseillyng wolde chaungen thynges that been ordeyned and affermed by so manye wyse [2247] ¶ Sec|oundly I seye / that alle wommen been wikke / and noon good of hem alle ¶ ffor of a thousand men seith Salomon / [¶ Nota secundum Salomonem] I foond a good man [folio 159b] but certes of alle wommen / good womman foond I neuere [2248] ¶ And also certes / If I gouerned me by thy conseil / it sholde seme that I hadde yeue to thee ouer me the maistrie / and god forbede / that it so weere [2249] ¶ For Ihesus Syrak seith / that if the [¶ Ihesus Syrak/] wyf haue maistrie / she is contrarious to hir housbonde [2250] ¶ And Salomon seith ¶ Neuere in thy lyf / to thy [¶ Salomon] wyf / ne to thy child / ne to thy freend / ne yeue no power ouer thy self ‖. ffor bettre it were / that thy children aske of thy persone / thynges that hem nedeth / than thou be thy self in the handes of thy children / [2251] ¶ And if I wolde werke by thy conseillyng? Certes / my conseillyng moste som tyme be secree / til it were tyme þat it moste be

Page 431

Scan of Page  431
View Page 431

[6-text p 208] knowe and this / ne may noght be [2252. Car il est escript, la genglerie des femmes ne puct riens celler fors ce qu'elle ne scet. [2253] Apres, le philosophre dit, en mauvais conseil les femmes vainquent les hommes: et par ces raisons je ne dois point user de ton conseil. MS Reg. 19 C. vii, in Tyrwhitt, iv. 335. (See Prudence on Reasons 4 & 5, further on.)]

[2254] Whanne dame Prudence / ful debonairly and [¶ Prudence] with greet pacience / hadde herd / al that hir housbonde liked for to seye / thanne axed she of hym licence for to speke / and seyde in this wise [2255] ¶ My lord quod she / as to youre firste reson / certes it may lightly been answered ¶ ffor I seye / that it is no folie / to chaunge conseil ‖. whan the thyng is chaunged ¶ or elles / whan the thyng semeth / ootherweyes / than it was biforn [2256] ¶ And mooreouer I seye / that though ye han sworn and bihight to perfourne youre emprise ¶ And nathelees / ye weyue to perfourne / thilke same emprise by Iuste cause / men sholde nat seyn therfore / that ye were a lier ne forsworn [2257] ¶ ffor the book seith / þat the wise man maketh no lesyng whan he turneth his corage to the bettre [2258] ¶ And al be it so / that youre emprise be establissed and ordeyned / by greet multitude of folk / yet thar ye nat accomplice thilke ordinance / but yow like [2259] ¶ ffor the trouthe of thynges / and the profit been rather founden in fewe folk that been wise / and ful of reson / than by greet multitude of folk ther euery man crieth and clatereth / what that hym liketh ¶ Soothly / swich multitude is nat honeste [2260] ¶ As to the seconde reson /. where as ye seyn þat alle wommen been wikke? Saue youre grace / certes ye despisen alle wommen in this wyse / [car il est escript, qui tout desprist, a tous desplaist] [2261] & Senec seith / that who so wole haue sapi|ence [¶ Seneca] / shal no man despise but he shal gladly / techen the science that he kan with-outen presumpcion or pride / [2262] And swiche thynges // as he nought ne kan / he shal nat been ashamed to lerne hem and enquere of lasse

Page 432

Scan of Page  432
View Page 432

[6-text p 209] folk / than hym self /. [2263] And sire / that ther hath been many a good womman / may lightly be preued / [2264] ¶ ffor certes sire / oure lord Ihesu crist wolde neuere haue descended to be born of a womman / if alle wommen / hadden ben wikke / [2265] And after that for the grete bountee that is in wommen oure lord Ihesu crist whan he was risen fro deeth to lyue / appeered rather to a womman / than to hise Apostles [2266] ¶ And though that salomon seith / that he ne foond neuere womman good / it folweth nat therfore / that alle wommen ben wikke [2267] ffor though that he ne foond no good womman /. certes ful many another man / hath founden / many a womman ful good and trewe [2268] ¶ Or elles per auenture / the entente of salomon was this / that as in souereyn bounte he foond no womman / [2269] this is to seyn / that ther is no wight þat hath souereyn bountee / saue god allone / as he hym self recordeth in hys Euaun|gelie / [2270] ffor ther nys no creature so good / that hym ne wanteth somwhat of the perfeccion of god / that is his maker [2271] ¶ Youre [folio 160a] thridde reson is this ¶ ye seyn / if ye gouerne yow by my conseil / it sholde seme that ye hadde yeue me the maistrie / and the lordshipe ouer youre persone ‖. [2272] sire saue youre grace / it is nat so ‖ ffor if it were so that no man sholde be conseilled / but oonly of hem that hadden lordshipe and maistrie of his persone / men wolden nat be conseilled so ofte ‖ [2273] ffor soothly / thilke man that asketh conseil of a purpos / yet hath he free choys / wheither he wole werke by that conseil or noon [2274] ¶ And as to youre fourthe reson ¶ ther ye seyn þat the Ianglerie of wommen hath hyd thynges that they wiste noght. As who seith / that a womman kan nat hyde that she woot [2275] ¶ sire thise wordes been vnder|stonde of wommen þat been Iangleresses and wikked / [2276] of whiche wommen / men seyn that thre thynges / dryuen a man out of his hous ¶ that is to seyn Smoke / [¶ Of .iij. thynges þat dryuen a man out of his hous.] droppyng of Reyn /. and wikked wyues / [2277] and

Page 433

Scan of Page  433
View Page 433

[6-text p 210] swiche wommen seith Salomon / þat it were bettre dwelle [¶ Salomon] in desert than with a womman that is riotous [2278] ¶ And sire by youre leue / that am nat .I. / [2279] for ye haan ful ofte assayed my grete silence / and my gret pacience. ‖ And eek how wel / that I kan hyde and hele thynges / that men oghte secreely to hyde [2280] ¶ And soothly / as to youre fifthe reson / where as ye seyn / that in wikked con|seil / wommen venquisshe men ¶ god woot thilke reson stant heere in no stede [2281] ¶ ffor vnderstoond now / ye asken conseil to do wikkednesse / [2282] and if ye wole werken wikkednesse / and youre wif restreyneth thilke wikked purpos / and ouercometh yow by reson and by good conseil / [2283] certes youre wyf oghte rather to be preised / than yblamed [2284] ¶ Thus sholde ye vnder|stonde the Philosophre / that seith / In wikked conseil wommen venquisshen hir housbondes [2285] ¶ And ther as ye blamen alle wommen and hir resons ‖ I shal shewe yow by manye ensamples / that many a womman / hath ben ful good / and yet been / and hir conseils ful hoolsome and profitable [2286] ¶ Eek / som men han seyd that the conseillynge of wommen / is outher to deere / or elles to litel of pris [2287] ¶ But al be it so / þat ful many a womman is badde / and hir conseil vile and noght worth / yet han men founde / ful many a good womman / and ful discrete and wise in conseillynge [2288] ¶ Loo Iacob / by [¶ Nota de Rebekka] good conseil of his mooder Rebekka wan the benyson of Ysaak / his fader / and the lordshipe ouer alle hise bretheren [2289] ¶ Iudith by hire good conseil deliuered the Citee of [¶ de Iudith] Bethulie in which she dwelled / out of the handes of Olofernus / that hadde it biseged and wolde haue al destroyed it [2290] ¶ Abygail deliuered Nabal hir housbonde fro [¶ de Abygail] Dauid the kyng that wolde haue slayn hym / and apaysed the Ire of the kyng by hir wit and by hir good conseil|lyng [2291] ¶ Hester / enhaunced greetly by hir good con|seil [¶ de Hestere] the peple of god / in the regne of Assuerus the kyng [2292] ¶ and the same bountee in good conseillyng of

Page 434

Scan of Page  434
View Page 434

[6-text p 211] many a good womman may men telle [2293] ¶ And moore ouer / whan oure lord hadde creat Adam oure forme fader / he seyde in this wise / [2294] It is nat good / to been a man alloone / make we to hym an helpe semblable to hym self / [2295] ¶ Heere may ye se / that if that wommen were nat goode and hir conseils goode & profitable / [2296] oure lord god of heuene / wolde neuere han wroght hem / ne called hem / help of man but rather confusion of man [2297] ¶ And ther seyde oones a clerk in [folio 160b] two vers ‖ what is bettre / than gold? Iaspre ¶ What is bettre than Iaspre? wisedoom / [2298] ¶ And what is better than wisedoom? womman ‖. And what is bettre than a good womman? no thyng [2299] ¶ And sire by manye of othre resons / may ye seen that manye wommen been goode / and hir conseils goode and profitable ‖ [2300] And therfore sire / if ye wol triste to my conseil / I shal restoore yow / youre doghter / hool and sound / [2301] And eek/ .I. wol do to yow so muche / that ye shul haue honour in this cause /

[2302] Whan Melibee hadde herd the wordes of his [¶ Melibee] wyf Prudence / he seyde thus [2303] ¶ I se wel that the word of Salomon is sooth ‖. he seith that wordes þat [¶ Salomon] been spoken discreetly by ordinaunce / been honycombes / for they yeuen swetnesse to the soule / and hoolsomnesse to the body [2304] ¶ And wyf / by cause of thy sweete wordes / and eek for I haue assayed and preued thy grete sapience / and thy grete trouthe / I wol gouerne me by thy conseil / in alle thyng /

[2305] Now sire quod dame Prudence / and syn ye [¶ Prudence] vouche sauf / to been gouerned by my conseil / I wol enforme yow / how ye shul gouerne youre self/ in chesynge of youre conseillours [2306] ¶ Ye shul first/ in alle youre werkes / mekely / biseken to the heighe god / þat he wol be youre conseillour /. [2307] And shapeth yow / to swich entente / that he yeue yow conseil and confort as taughte Thobie his sone [2308] ¶ At alle tymes / thou shalt blesse [¶ Thobias]

Page 435

Scan of Page  435
View Page 435

[6-text p 212] god and praye hym / to dresse thy weyes / and looke / þat alle thy conseils been in hym for eueremoore [2309] Seint [¶ Sanctus Iacobus] Iame eek seith ‖. If any of yow haue nede of sapience / axe it of god [2310] ¶ And afterward / thanne shul ye taken conseil of youre [self] and examyne wel youre thoghtes / of swich thyng as yow thynketh þat is best for youre profit / [2311] And thanne shul ye dryue fro youre herte. thre [¶ Of .iij. thynges þat been contra|riouse to good conseil] thynges that been contrariouse to good conseil / [2312] That is to seyn / Ire / coueitise / and hastifnesse

[2313] ¶ ffirst he þat axeth conseil of hym self / certes / he moste been with-outen Ire / for manye causes / [2314] the firste is this ¶ he þat hath greet Ire and wratthe in hym self / he weneþ alwey that he may do thyng that he may nat do [2315] ¶ And secoundely / he that is Irous and wrooth / he ne may nat wel deme / [2316] and he þat may nat wel deme / may nat wel conseille [2317] ¶ The thridde is this / that he þat is Irous and wrooth as seith Senec ne may nat speke / but he blame thynges / [2318] [¶ Seneca] and with hise viciouse wordes / he stireth oother folk / to Angre and to Ire [2319] ¶ And eek sire / ye moste dryue coueitise out of youre herte / [2320] ffor the Apostle seith [¶ Apostolus] ¶ That coueitise is roote of alle harmes ‖ [2321] And trust wel / that a coueitous man ne kan noght deme ne thynke / but oonly to fulfille the ende of his coueitise / [2322] and certes / that ne may neuere been accompliced / for euere / the moore habundaunce þat he hath of richesse / the moore he desireth [2323] ¶ And sire / ye moste also / dryue out of youre herte hastifnesse / for certes / [2324] ye ne may nat deeme for the beste a sodeyn thought / that falleth in youre herte / but ye moste auyse yow on it ful ofte / [2325] ffor as ye herde biforn / The commune prouerbe is this ¶ That he þat soone deemeth / soone repenteth.

[2326] ¶ Sire / ye ne be nat alwey in lyke disposicion [2327] for certes / som thyng þat somtyme semeth to yow / that it is good for to do / Another tyme it semeth to yow the contrarie /

Page 436

Scan of Page  436
View Page 436

[6-text p 213]

[2328] whan ye han taken conseil of youre self / and han deemed by good deliberacion swich thyng/ as you list best/ [2329] ¶ Thanne rede I yow / that ye kepe it/ [folio 161a] secree / [2330] biwrey nat youre conseil to no persone / but if so be that ye wenen sikerly / that thurgh youre biwreyyng youre condicion / shal be to yow the moore profitable [2331] ¶ ffor Ihesus Syrak seith / Neither to thy [¶ Ihesus Syrak/] foo ne to thy frend discouere nat thy secree ne thy folie / [2332] for they wol yeue yow Audience and lookynge / to supportacion in thy presence / and scorne thee in thyn Absence [2333] ¶ Another clerk seith / That scarsly shaltou fynden any persone / that may kepe conseil sikerly [2334] ¶ The book seith / whil þat thou kepest thy conseil in thyn herte / thou kepest it in thy prison / [2335] and whan thou biwreyest thy conseil to any wight / he holdeth thee in his snare [2336] ¶ And therfore yow is bettre to hyde youre conseil in youre herte / than praye hem / to whom ye han biwreyed youre conseil / that he wole kepen it cloos and stille [2337] ¶ ffor Seneca seith ¶ If so be / [¶ Seneca] þat thou ne mayst nat thyn owene conseil hyde? how darstou prayen any oother wight thy conseil sikerly to kepe [2338] ¶ But nathelees / If thou wene sikerly / þat the biwreiyng of thy conseil to a persone / wol make thy condicion to stonden in the bettre plyt/ . thanne shaltou tellen hym thy conseil in this wise [2339] ¶ ffirst thou [¶ How a man shall tellen his conseil] shalt make no semblant wheither thee were leuere pees or werre / or this / or that . ne shewe hym nat thy wille and thyn entente / [2340] ffor trust wel / þat comenli thise conseillours been flatereres / [2341] namely the conseillours of grete lordes / [2342] for they enforcen hem alwey / rather to speken plesante wordes / enclynynge to the lordes lust . than wordes þat been trewe or profitable [2343] ¶ And therfore / men seyn / þat the riche man hath seeld good con|seil but if he haue it of hym self [2344] ¶ And after that thou shalt considere thy freendes and thyne enemys ‖ [2345] And as touchynge thy freendes thou shalt con|sidere

Page 437

Scan of Page  437
View Page 437

[6-text p 214] / wiche of hem / þat been moost feithful and moost wise / and eldest and most approued in conseillyng . [2346] And of hem shalt thou aske thy conseil / as the caas requireth

[2347] ¶ I seye / þat first / ye shul clepe to youre con|seil youre freendes that been trewe [2348] ¶ ffor Salomon [¶ Salomon] seith ¶ That right as the herte of a man deliteth in sauour þat is soote / right so / the conseil of trewe freendes / yeueth swetenesse to the soule; [2349] He seith also ¶ ther may no thyng be likned to the trewe freend ‖ [2350] for certes gold ne siluer / beth nat so muche worth as the goode wyl of a trewe freend [2351] ¶ And eek he seith / that a trewe freend / is a strong deffense / who so þat hym fyndeth / certes / he fyndeth a greet tresour [2352] ¶ Thanne shul ye eek considere / if that youre trewe freendes / been discrete and wise / ¶ ffor the book seith / Axe alwey thy conseil / of hem þat been wise / [2353] And by this same reson / shul ye clepen to youre conseil of youre freendes that been of age / swiche as han seyn and been expert in manye thynges / and been approued in conseillynges [2354] ¶ ffor the book seith / that in the olde men is the Sapience / and in longe tyme the prudence [2355] ¶ And Tullius seith / that grete thynges / ne been nat ay accompliced by strengthe / ne by deliuernesse of body / but by good conseil / by Auctoritee of persones and by science / the whiche thre thynges / ne been nat fieble by age / but certes / they enforcen and en|creescen day by day / [2356] And thanne / shul ye kepe this / for a general reule ¶ ffirst shul ye clepen to youre conseil / a fewe of youre freendes that been especiale / [2357] for Salomon seith ¶ Manye freendes haue thou / [¶ Nota secundum Salomonem] but among a thousand chese thee oon / to be thy conseil|lour / [2358] ffor al be it so / that thou first ne [folio 161b] telle thy conseil / but to a fewe / thou mayst afterward telle it to mo folk if it be nede / [2359] but looke alwey / that thy conseillours / haue thilke thre condicions þat I haue seyd

Page 438

Scan of Page  438
View Page 438

[6-text p 215] bifore / that is to seyn / that they be trewe / wise / and of oold experience [2360] ¶ And werke nat alwey in euery nede / by oon counseillour allone ¶ ffor somtyme bihooueth it to been conseilled by manye ‖ [2361] ffor Salomon seith [¶ Salomon] ¶ Saluacion of thynges / is / where as ther been manye conseillours

[2362] Now / sith I haue toold yow / of which folk / ye sholde been counseilled / now wol I teche yow which conseil / ye oghte to eschewe [2363] ¶ ffirst ye shul eschue the conseillyng of fooles ‖ ffor Salomon seith / taak no con|seil [¶ Salomon] of a fool / for he ne kan noght conseille / but after his [¶ Of conseillours þat a man oghte to eschue] owene lust and his affeccion [2364] ¶ The book seith / that the propretee of a fool is this ¶ he troweth lightly harm of euery wight / and lightly troweth alle bountee in hym self [2365] ¶ Thou shalt eek eschue / the conseillyng of flatereres / swiche as enforcen hem / rather to preise youre persone by flaterye than for to telle yow / the sooth|fastnesse of thynges

[2366] ¶ Wherfore Tullius seith ¶ Amonges alle the [¶ Tullius] pestilences that been in freendshipe / the gretteste is flaterie / And therfore is it moore nede þat thou eschue and drede flatereres / than any oother peple [2367] ¶ The book seith / thou shalt rather drede and flee / fro the sweete wordes / of flaterynge preiseres / than fro the egre wordes of thy freend / that seith thee thy sothes ‖ [2368] Salomon seith / that the wordes of a flaterere / is a snare to chacche with Innocentz [2369] ¶ He seith also / that he þat speketh to his freend / wordes of swetnesse and of plesaunce / setteth a net biforn his feet to cacche hym [2370] ¶ And therfore seith Tullius / Enclyne nat thyne eres to flatereres / ne taaketh no conseil of the wordes of flaterye ‖. [2371] And Caton seith ¶ Auyse thee wel / and [¶ Cato] eschue the wordes / of swetnesse and of plesaunce [2372] ¶ And eek thou shalt eschue / the conseillyng of thyne olde enemys / that been reconsiled [2373] ¶ The book seith /. that no wight retourneth saufly / in-to the

Page 439

Scan of Page  439
View Page 439

[6-text p 216] grace of his olde enemy [2374] ¶ And Isope seith / Ne trust nat to hem / to whiche thou hast had som tyme werre or enemytee / ne telle hem nat thy conseil [2375] ¶ And Seneca telleth the cause why ¶ It may nat be seith he / [¶ Seneca] that where greet fyr / hath longe tyme endured / that ther ne dwelleth som vapour of warmnesse [2376] And therfore seith Salomon ¶ In thyn olde foo trust neuere [¶ Salomon] [2377] ¶ ffor sikerly / though thyn enemy / be reconsiled and maketh thee chiere of humylitee / and lowteth to thee with his heed ne trust hym neuere [2378] ¶ ffor certes / he maketh thilke feyned humilitee / moore for his profit than for any loue of thy persone / by cause that he deem|eth / to haue victorie ouer thy persone / by swich feyned contenance / the which victorie / he myghte nat wynne / by strif or werre [2379] And Peter Alfonce seith /. Make no [¶ Petrus Alfonce] felawshipe / with thyne olde enemys ‖ ffor if thou do hem bountee / they wol peruerten it / in to wikkednesse [2380] And eek thou most eschue / the conseillyng of hem / that been thy seruantz and beren thee greet reuerence / for perauenture / they doon it moore / for drede than for loue [2381] ¶ And therfore / seith a Philosophre / in this [¶ Philosophus] wise ‖. Ther is no wight parfitly trewe / to hym þat he to soore dredeth [2382] ¶ And Tullius seith ‖ Ther nys no [¶ Tullius] myght so greet of any Emperour / that longe may endure / but if he haue / moore lo [folio 162a] ue of the peple / than for drede [2383] ¶ Thou shalt also eschue / the conseiling of folk that been dronkelewe ‖ for they kan no conseil hyde [2384] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ Ther is no priuetee / ther as [¶ Salomon] regneth dronkenesse [2385] ¶ Ye shul also / han in suspect the conseillyng of swich folk. as conseille yow . a thyng priuely / and conseille yow / the contrarie openly [2386] ¶ ffor Cassidorie seith /. that it is a manere sleighte to [¶ Cassidorus] hyndre / whan he sheweth to doon a thyng openly / and werketh priuely the contrarie [2387] ¶ Thou shalt also / haue in suspect. the conseillyng of wikked folk ‖. ffor the book seith / The conseillyng of wikked folk. is alwey ful

Page 440

Scan of Page  440
View Page 440

[6-text p 217] of fraude ‖. [2388] And Dauid seith ¶ blisful is that man / [¶ Dauid] þat hath nat folwed / the conseilyng of sherewes [2389] ¶ Thou shalt also eschue / the conseillyng of yong folk . for hir conseil is nat rype

[2390] NOw sire / sith I have shewed yow / of which folk ye shul take youre conseil / and of which folk ye shul folwe the conseil? [2391] now wol I teche yow / how ye shal examyne youre conseil / after the doctrine of Tullius [2392] ¶ In the examynynge thanne of youre conseillour [¶ how a man shal examine his conseillours after the doctrine of Tullius] ye shul considere manye thynges [2393] ¶ Alderfirst thou shalt considere / þat in thilke thyng that thou purposest / and vpon what thyng thou wolt haue conseil / þat verray trouthe / be seyd and conserued / this is to seyn / telle trewely thy tale [2394] ¶ ffor he that seith fals / may nat wel be conseilled / in that cas of which he lieth [2395] ¶ And after this / thou shalt considere the thynges þat acorden to that thou purposest / for to do / by thy conseil|lours if reson accorde therto /. [2396] And eek / if thy myght may atteine ther-to / And if the moore part and the bettre part of thy conseillours acorde ther-to / or noon [2397] ¶ Thanne shaltou considere / what thyng shal folwe / after hir conseillyng. as hate / pees / werre / grace / profit or damage / and manye othere thynges [2398] ¶ Thanne / of alle thise thynges / thou shalt chese the beste / and weyue alle othere thynges [2399] ¶ Thanne shaltow considere of what roote is engendred the matiere of thy conseil / and what fruyt it may conserue and engendre [2400] ¶ Thou shalt eek considere alle thise causes / fro whennes they been sprongen [2401] ¶ And whan ye han examyned youre conseil / as I have seyd / and which partie is the bettre and moore profitable / and hast approued it by manye wise folk and olde [2402] ¶ thanne shaltou considere / it thou mayst parfourne it and maken of it a good ende [2403] ¶ ffor certes reson wol nat that any man / sholde bigynne a thyng. but if he myghte / parfourne it as hym oghte [2404] ¶ Ne no wight sholde

Page 441

Scan of Page  441
View Page 441

[6-text p 218] take vp on hym so heuy a charge / that he myghte nat bere it [2405] ¶ ffor the prouerbe seith ‖. he that to muche [¶ prouerbe] embraceth / distreyneth litel [2406] And Caton seith [¶ Cato] ¶ Assay to do swich thyng. as thou hast power to doon / lest that the charge oppresse thee / so soore / that thee bihoueth / to weyue thyng that thou hast bigonne / [2407] And if so be / þat thou be in doute / wheither thou mayst parfourne a thing or noon / chese rather / to suffre than bigynne [2408] ¶ And Piers Alphonce seith ¶ If [¶ Petrus Alfonce] thou hast myght to doon a thyng of which thou most repente thee / it is bettre / nay than ye [2409] ¶ this is to seyn / that thee is bettre / holde thy tonge stille / than for to speke [2410] ¶ Thanne may ye vnderstonde / by strenger resons / that if thou hast po [folio 162b] wer / to parfourne a werk of which thou shalt repente / thanne is it bettre / that thou suffre than bigynne [2411] ¶ wel seyn they þat defenden euery wight to assaye any thyng of which he is in doute / wheither he may parfourne it or noon ‖ [2412] And after / whan ye han examyned youre conseil / as I haue seyd biforn / and knowen wel / that ye may par|fourne youre emprise / conferme it thanne sadly til it be at an ende

[2413] NOw is it reson and tyme þat I shewe yow / whanne and wherfore / that ye may chaunge youre conseil|lours / with-outen youre repreue [2414] ¶ Soothly / a man [¶ How a man may chaungen hise conseillours with-outen repreue] may chaungen his purpos and his conseil if the cause cesseth / or whan a newe caas bitydeth [2415] ¶ ffor the lawe seith that vpon thynges þat newely bityden / bihoueth newe conseil [2416] ¶ And senec/ seith ‖. If thy conseil [¶ Seneca] is comen / to the eeris of thyn enemy chaunge thy conseil [2417] ¶ Thou mayst also chaunge thy conseil / If so be / that thou mayst fynde / that by errour / or by oother cause / harm or damage may bityde [2418] ¶ Also / if thy conseil be dishonest. or ellis cometh of dishoneste cause / chaunge thy conseil ‖. [2419] ffor the lawes seyn ¶ that alle bihestes that been dishoneste / been of no value

Page 442

Scan of Page  442
View Page 442

[6-text p 219] [2420] ¶ And eek/ If so be / þat it be inpossible / or may nat goodly be parfourned or kept

[2421] ¶ And take this / for a general reule / that euery conseil þat is affermed so strongly / that it may nat be chaunged for no condicion that may bityde ¶ I seye / þat thilke conseil is wikked.

[2422] This Melibeus / whanne he hadde herd the doctrine of [¶ Melibeus] his wyf dame Prudence / answerde in this wyse [2423] ¶ Dame quod he as yet in to this tyme / ye han wel and couenablely taught me as in general / how I shal gouerne me in the chesynge / and in the withholdynge of my conseillours ‖ [2424] but now wolde I fayn / that ye wolde condescende in especial / [2425] and telle me / how liketh yow / or what semeth yow by oure conseillours / that we han chosen in oure present nede

[2426] My lord quod she / I biseke yow in al hum|blesse [¶ Prudence] / that ye wol nat wilfully replie agayn my resons / ne distempre youre herte / thogh I speke thyng that yow displese ‖ [2427] ffor god woot that as in myn entente I speke it for youre beste / for youre honour / and for youre profite eke / [2428] And soothly I hope / that youre be|nyngnytee / wol taken it in pacience [2429] ¶ Trusteth me wel quod she / that youre conseil as in this caas ne sholde nat as to speke properly / be called a conseillyng but a mocion or a moeuyng of folye / [2430] in which conseil / ye han erred in many a sondry wise

[2431] ¶ ffirst / and forward / ye han erred in thassem|blynge of youre conseillours ‖ [2432] ffor ye sholde first haue cleped a fewe folk / to youre conseil / and after ye myghte han shewed it to mo folk / if it hadde been nede [2433] ¶ But certes / ye han sodeynly cleped to youre con|seil a greet multitude of peple ful chargeant and ful anoyous for to heere [2434] ¶ Also / ye han erred / for there as ye sholden oonly haue cleped to youre conseil youre trewe frendes olde and wise / [2435] ye han ycleped straunge folk / and yong folk. false flatereres / and enemys

Page 443

Scan of Page  443
View Page 443

[6-text p 220] reconsiled / and folk / þat doon yow reuerence withouten loue [2436] ¶ And eek also / ye haue erred / for ye han broght with yow to youre conseil / Ire / coueitise / and hastifnesse / [2437] the whiche thre thinges been con|trariouse to euery conseil / honeste and profitable / [2438] the whiche thre / ye han nat anientissed or destroyed hem / neither in youre self ne in youre conseillours as yow oghte [2439] ¶ Ye han erred also / for ye han shewed [folio 163a] to youre conseillours / youre talent and youre affeccion / to make werre anon / and for to do vengeance / [2440] they han espied by youre wordes to what thyng ye been enclyned ‖ [2441] And therfore / han they rather conseilled yow to youre talent than to youre profit [2442] ¶ Ye han erred also / for it semeth / þat it suffiseth / to han been con|seilled by thise conseillours oonly / and wiþ litel Auys / [2443] where-as in so greet and so heigh a nede / it hadde been necessarie mo conseillours / and moore deliberacion to parfourne youre emprise [2444] ¶ Ye han erred also / for ye han nat examyned youre conseil / in the forseyde manere ne in due manere as the caas requireth [2445] ¶ Ye han erred also / for ye han nat maked no diuision bitwixe youre conseillours ¶ this is to seyn / bitwixen youre trewe freendes / and youre feyned conseillours; [2446] ne ye han nat knowe the wil of youre trewe freendes / olde and wise [2447] but ye han cast alle hire wordes in an hochepot and enclyned youre herte to the moore partie / and to the gretter nombre / and there been ye condescended [2448] ¶ And sith ye woot wel þat men shal alwey / fynde a gretter nombre of fooles / than of wise men / [2449] and therfore / the conseils that been at congregacions and mul|titudes of folk. there as men take moore reward to the nombre / than to the sapience of persones / [2450] ye se wel / that in swiche conseillynges / fooles han the maistrie [2451] Melibeus answerde agayn / and seyde / I graunte wel that [¶ Melibeus] I haue erred ‖ [2452] but there as thou hast toold me heer|biforn / þat he nys nat to blame þat chaungeth hise con|seillours

Page 444

Scan of Page  444
View Page 444

[6-text p 221] in certein caas / and for certeine Iuste causes [2453] ¶ I am al redy to chaunge my conseillours / right as thow wolt deuyse / [2454] ¶ The prouerbe seith /. that [¶ Prouerbe] for to do synne is mannyssh / but certes / for to perseuere longe in synne / is werk of the deuel

[2455] ¶ To this sentence answereth anon dame Pru|dence [¶ Prudence] and seyde [2456] ¶ Examineth quod she youre con|seil / and lat vs see / the whiche of hem / han spoken most resonablely / and taught yow best conseil ‖. [2457] And for as muche as þat the examynacion is necessarie / lat vs bigynne at the surgiens and at the phisiciens / that first speeken in this matiere [2458] ¶ I sey yow / that the surgiens and phisiciens / han seyd yow in youre conseil discreetly / as hem oughte [2459] ¶ And in hir speche seyd ful wisely / that to the office of hem aperteneth to doon to euery wight honour and profit / and no wight for to anoye / [2460] and in hir craft / to doon greet diligence vn-to the cure of hem / whiche þat they han in hir gouern|aunce / [2461] And sire / right as they han answered wisely and discreetly / [2462] right so rede I that they been heighly and souereynly gerdoned for hir noble speche / [2463] and eek for they sholde do / the moore ententif bisynesse in the curacion of youre doghter deere ‖ [2464] ffor al be it so / þat they been youre freendes / therfore shal ye nat suffren / that they serue yow for noght / [2465] but ye oghte the rather gerdone hem and shewe hem youre largesse [2466] ¶ And as touchynge the proposicion which that the Phisiciens encreesceden in this caas / this is to seyn / [2467] that in maladies / that oon contrarie is warisshed by another contrarie /. [2468] I wolde fayn knowe / hou ye vnderstonde this text / and what is youre sentence [2469] ¶ Certes quod Melibeus / I. [¶ Melibeus] vnderstonde it in this wise [2470] ¶ that right as they han doon me a contrarie / right so / sholde I doon hem another ‖ [2471] ffor right as they han [folio 163b] venged hem on me / and doon me wrong; Right so / shal I venge me vpon hem /

Page 445

Scan of Page  445
View Page 445

[6-text p 222] and doon hem wrong . [2472] and thanne haue I cured oon contrarie by another

[2473] Lo. lo quod dame Prudence / how lightly is [¶ Prudence] euery man enclined to his owene desir / and to his owene plesaunce [2474] ¶ Certes quod she the wordes of the Phisiciens / ne sholde nat han been vnderstonden in thys wise ‖. [2475] ffor certes / wikkednesse / is nat contrarie to wikkednesse / ne vengeance to vengeaunce / ne wrong to wrong · but they been semblable [2476] ¶ And ther|fore / o vengeaunce / is nat warisshed by another venge|aunce / ne o wroong by another wroong. [2477] but euerich of hem encreesceth and aggreggeth oother [2478] ¶ But certes / the wordes of the Phisiciens / sholde been vnderstonden in this wise [2479] ¶ ffor good and wikked|nesse / been two contraries and pees and werre / venge|aunce and suffraunce / discord and accord and manye othere thynges ‖ [2480] But certes / wikkednesse / shal be warisshed by goodnesse / discord by accord / werre by pees / and so forth of othere thynges [2481] And heer-to accordeth Seint Paul the Apostle / in manye places [2482] ¶ He [¶ Paulus Apos|tolus] seith Ne yeldeth nat harm for harm / ne wikked speche / for wikked speche / [2483] But do wel / to hym þat dooth thee harm / and blesse hym þat seith to thee harm [2484] ¶ And in manye othere places he amonesteth pees and accord [2485] ¶ But now wol I speke to yow / of the con|seil / which þat was yeuen to yow / by the men of lawe / and the wise folk [2486] that seyden alle by oon accord / as ye han herd bifore [2487] ¶ That ouer alle thynges / ye sholde doon youre diligence to kepen youre persone / and to warnestoore youre hous [2488] ¶ And seyden also that in this caas / yow oghten for to werken ful auysely and with greet deliberacion [2489] ¶ And sire / as to the firste point. that toucheth to the kepyng of youre persone / [2490] ye shul vnderstonde / that he þat hath werre shal eueremoore / mekely and deuoutly / preyen biforn alle thynges / [2491] that Ihesus crist of his grete mercy wol

Page 446

Scan of Page  446
View Page 446

[6-text p 223] han hym in his proteccion / and been his souereyn helpyng at his nede ‖. [2492] ffor certes / In this world ther is no wight that may be conseilled ne kept sufficeantly with|outen the kepyng of oure lord Ihesu crist [2493] ¶ To this sentence accordeth the prophete dauid / that seith ‖ [2494] [¶ Dauid propheta] If god ne kepe the Citee / in ydel waketh he that it kepeth [2495] Now sire / thanne shul ye committe / the kepyng of youre persone to youre trewe freendes / that been approued and knowe / [2496] and of hem / shul ye axen helpe / youre persone for to kepe ¶ ffor Caton seith ¶ If thou hast [¶ Cato] nede of help / axe it of thy freendes ‖ [2497] ffor ther nys noon so good a Phisicien / as thy trewe freend [2498] ¶ And after this / thanne shul ye kepe yow fro alle straunge folk / and fro lyeres / and haue alwey in suspect hire compaignye [2499] ¶ ffor Piers Alfonce seith ‖ Ne [¶ Petrus Alfonce] taak / no compaignye by the weye of straunge men but if so be þat thou haue knowe hym of a lenger tyme [2500] ¶ And if so be / that he be falle in-to thy compaignye par|auenture withouten thyn assent ./ [2501] enquere thanne / as subtilly as thou mayst of his conuersacion / and of his lyf bifore / and feyne thy wey ‖. seye that thou goost thider as thou wolt nat go / [2502] and if he bereth a spere / hoold thee on the right syde / and if he bere a swerd / hoold thee on his lift syde. [2503] ¶ And after this / thanne / shul ye kepe yow wisely from all swich manere peple as I haue seyd bifore / And hem and hir conseil eschewe / [2504] ¶ And after this / thanne shul ye kepe yow in swich manere / [2505] that for any presumpcion of youre strengthe / that ye ne dispise nat ne acounte [folio 164a] nat the myght of youre Aduersarie / so litel / that ye lete / the kepyng of youre persone / for youre presumpcion / [2506] for euery wys man / dredeth his enemy [2507] ¶ And Salomon seith ¶ weleful is he / that of alle hath drede / [¶ Salomon] [2508] for certes / he that thurgh the hardynesse of his herte / and thurgh the hardynesse of hym self / hath to greet presumpcion / hym shal yuel bityde [2509] ¶ Thanne /

Page 447

Scan of Page  447
View Page 447

[6-text p 224] shul ye eueremoore countrewayte embusshementz and alle espiaille [2510] ¶ ffor senec seith ¶ That the wise man / [¶ Seneca] he dredeth harmes / . . . . . [no gap] [2511] ne he ne falleth in-to perils / that perils eschueth ‖ [2512] And al be it so / þat it seme that thou art in siker place / yet shaltow alwey do thy diligence in kepynge of thy persone [2513] ¶ this is to seyn Ne be nat necligent to kepe thy persone / nat oonly / for thy gretteste enemys / but for thy leeste enemy [2514] [Car seneque dit il appartient a homme bien enseigne qui[l] doubte son petit ennemy [MS Reg. 19 C vii folio 133a] ] [2515] ¶ Ouyde [¶ Ouidius] seith ‖ that the litel wesele / wol slee the grete bole / and the wilde hert [2516] ¶ And the book / seith ‖ A litel thorn / may prikke a greet kyng ful soore ‖. And an hound / wol holde the wilde boor [2517] ¶ But nathelees / I sey nat thou shalt be coward / that thou doute / ther / wher as is no drede [2518] ¶ The book seith / that somme folk. han greet lust to deceyue / but yet they dreden hem to be de|ceyued [2519] ¶ Yet shaltou drede / to been empoisoned And kepe yow / from the compaignye of Scorneres [2520] ¶ ffor the book seith; with scorneres make no compaignye / but flee hire wordes as venym

[2521] ¶ Now as to the seconde point ¶ Where as youre wise conseillours conseilled yow to warnestoore youre hous / with gret diligence [2522] ¶ .I. wolde fayn knowe / how that ye vnderstonde / thilke wordes / and what is youre sentence

[2523] Melibeus answerde and seyde ¶ Certes I vnder|stande [¶ Melibeus] it in this wise ¶ That I shal warnestoore myn hous / with toures / swiche as han Castelles / and othere manere edifices / and Armure and Artelries / [2524] by whiche thynges / I may my persone and myn hous so kepen and deffenden that myne enemys / shul been in drede / myn hous for to Approche

[2525] TO this sentence / answerde anon Prudence ‖. [¶ Prudence] Warnestooryng quod she of heighe toures and of grete edifices / [appartient aucunes fois à orgueil. [2526] L'en fait les tours et les grans édifices (Le Ménagier, i. 209)] with grete

Page 448

Scan of Page  448
View Page 448

[6-text p 225] costages and with greet trauaille / and whan that they been accompliced / yet be they nat worth a stree / but if they be defended by trewe freendes that been / olde and wise [2527] [¶ Nota / of the strongeste garny|sone that may be.] ¶ And vnderstoond wel / that the gretteste and strongeste garnyson / that a riche man may haue / as wel to kepen his persone as hise goodes; is / [2528] that he be biloued / amonges hys subgetz and with hise neighebores [2529] ¶ ffor [¶ Tullius] thus seith Tullius ¶ That ther is a manere garnyson / that no man may venquysse ne disconfite / and that is / [2530] a lord to be biloued of hise Citezeins / and of his peple

[2531] NOw sire / as to the thridde point. where as youre olde / and wise conseillours seyden ¶ That yow ne oghte nat sodeynly ne hastily proceden in this nede / [2532] but that yow oghte purueyen and apparaillen yow in this caas with greet diligence and greet deliberacion [2533] ¶ trewely / I trowe that they seyden right wisely and right sooth [2534] ¶ ffor Tullius seith / In euery [¶ Tullius] nede / er thou bigynne it / Apparaille thee with greet diligence [2535] ¶ Thanne seye I / that in vengeance takyng In werre / in bataille / and in warnestooryng [2536] er thow bigynne / .I. rede / þat thou apparaille thee ther to / and do it with greet deliberacion; [2537] [folio 164b] ffor Tullius seith ¶ The longe apparaillyng biforn the bataille / [¶ Tullius] maketh short victorie ‖. [2538] And Cassidorus seith ¶ The [¶ Cassidorus] garnyson is stronger / whan it is longe tyme auysed

[2539] But now lat vs speken / of the conseil that was accorded by youre neighebores / swiche as doon yow reuerence withouten loue / [2540] youre olde enemys recon|siled / youre flatereres / [2541] that conseilled yow cer|teyne thynges priuely / and openly / conseilleden yow the contrarie [2542] ¶ The yonge folk also / that conseilleden yow to venge yow / and make werre anon [2543] ¶ And certes sire / as I haue seyd biforn / ye han greetly erred / to han cleped / swich manere folk to youre conseil / [2544] which conseillours been ynogh repreued by the resons aforeseyd / [2545] but nathelees / lat vs now descende to

Page 449

Scan of Page  449
View Page 449

[6-text p 226] the special ¶ Ye shuln first procede / after the doctrine of Tullius [2546] ¶ Certes / the trouthe of this matiere / or of this conseil / nedeth nat diligently enquere / [2547] for it is wel wist whiche they been / that han doon to yow this trespas and vileynye / [2548] and how manye trespassours and in what manere / they han to yow doon / al this wrong and all this vileynye [2549] ¶ And after this thanne / shul ye examyne the seconde condicion / which that the same Tullius / addeth in this matiere [2550] ¶ ffor Tullius put a thyng. which that he clepeth consentynge/this is to seyn ‖. [2551] who been they and how manye / [Et quelx ilz sont] that consenten to thy conseil / in thy wilfulnesse / to doon hastif vengeance [2552] ¶ And lat vs considere also who been they and how manye been they / and whiche been they / that consenteden to youre Aduersaries [2553] ¶ And certes / as to the firste poynt It is wel knowen / whiche folk been they / that consenteden / to youre hastif wilful|nesse / [2554] for trewely / alle tho that conseilleden yow / to maken sodeyn werre / ne been nat youre freendes [2555] ¶ Lat vs now considere / whiche been they / that ye holde so greetly youre freendes as to youre persone ‖ [2556] ffor al be it so / that ye be myghty and riche / certes / ye ne been nat but allone / [2557] for certes / ye ne han no child but a doghter / [2558] ne ye ne han bretheren ne cosyns germayns / ne noon ooþer neigh kynrede / [2559] wherfore that youre enemys for drede sholde stinte / to plede with yow / or to destroye youre persone [2560] ¶ Ye knowen also that youre richesses / mooten been dispended / in diuerse parties / [2561] and whan þat euery wight hath his part. they ne wollen taken but litel reward to v[e]nge thy deeth ‖. [2562] But thyne enemys / been thre / and they han manie children / bretheren / cosyns / and oother ny kynrede / [2563] And though so were that thou haddest slayn of hem .ijo. or .iije. yet dwellen ther ynowe to wreken hir deeth / and to sle thy persone ‖. [2564] And though so be that youre kynrede be moore siker and stedefast. than

Page 450

Scan of Page  450
View Page 450

[6-text p 227] the kyn of youre aduersarie ‖ [2565] yet nathelees youre kynrede / nys but a fer kynrede / they been / but litel syb to yow / [2566] and the kyn of youre enemys been ny syb to hem / And certes / as in that hir condicion / is bet than youres [2567] ¶ Thanne / lat vs considere also / if the conseillyng of hem þat conseilleden yow / to taken sodeyn vengeance / wheither it accorde to reson; [2568] And certes / ye knowe wel nay ‖ [2569] for as by right and reson / ther may no man taken vengeance on no wight / but the Iuge that hath the Iurisdiccion of it [2570] whan it is graunted hym / to take thilke vengeance hastily or at|temprely as the lawe requireth [2571] ¶ And yet moore ouer / of thilke word / that Tullius clepeth consentynge /. [2572] thou shalt considere / if thy myght and [folio 165a] thy power/ may consenten and suffise / to thy wilfulnesse / and to thy conseillours; [2573] And certes / thou mayst wel seyn / that nay [2574] ¶ ffor sikerly / as for to speke proprely / we may do no thyng. but oonly swich thyng as we may doon rightfully; [2575] And certes rightfully ne mowe ye take no vengeance / as of youre propre Auctoritee [2576] ¶ thanne mowe ye seen / that youre power ne consenteth nat ne accordeth nat with youre wilfulnesse [2577] ¶ Lat vs now examyne the thridde point that Tullius clepeth Consequent [2578] ¶ Thou shalt vnderstonde that the vengeance that thou purposest for to take / is the conse|quent ‖. [2579] And ther-of / folweth another vengeance / peril / and werre / and othere damages with-oute nombre / of whiche / we be nat war / as at this tyme [2580] ¶ And as touchynge the fourthe point. that Tullius clepeth en|gendrynge; [2581] thou shalt considere / that this wrong which that is doon to thee / is engendred of the hate of thyne enemys / [2582] and of the vengeance takynge / vpon that wolde engendre another vengeance / and muchel sorwe and wastynge of richesses as I seyde

[2583] ¶ Now sire / as to the point that Tullius clepeth causes / which that is the laste point. [2584] thou

Page 451

Scan of Page  451
View Page 451

[6-text p 228] shalt vnderstonde / þat the wrong that thou hast receyued / hath certeine causes / [2585] whiche þat clerkes clepen Oriens and Efficiens / and Causa longinqua / and Causa propinqua /. this is to seyn / the fer cause and the ny cause [2586] ¶ The fer cause / is almyghty god / that is cause of alle thynges [2587] ¶ The neer cause / is thy thre enemys [2588] ¶ The cause Accidental / was hate [2589] ¶ The cause material / been the fyue woundes of thy doghter [2590] ¶ The cause formal / is the manere of hir werkynge that broghten laddres and cloumben in at thy wyndowes; [2591] The cause final / was for to sle thy doghter / It letted nat in as muche as in hem was [2592] ¶ But for to speken of the fer cause / as to what ende they shul come / or what shal finally bityde of hem in this caas / ne kan .I. nat deme ‖. but by coniectynge and by supposynge [2593] ¶ for we shul suppose / that they shul come to a wikked ende /. [2594] by cause / that the book [¶ In libro decre|talium] of decrees seith ‖. seelden or with greet peyne / been causes ybroght / to good ende / whanne they been baddely bigonne

[2595] ¶ Now sire / If men wolde axe me / why that god suffred men to do yow this vileynye; Certes / I kan nat wel answere / as for no soothfastnesse [2596] ¶ ffor thapostle seith / that the sciences and the Iuggementz of [¶ Apostolus] oure lord god almyghty been ful depe / [2597] ther may no man comprehende ne serchen hem suffisantly / [2598] ¶ Nathelees / by certeyne presumpcions and coniectynges / I holde and bileeue [2599] that god / which that is ful of Iustice and of rightwisnesse hath suffred this bityde by Iuste cause resonable ‖.

[2600] Thy name is Melibee / this is to seyn / a man that drynketh hony [2601] ¶ Thou hast ydronke so muchel hony of sweete temporeel richesses / and delices and hon|ours of this world / [2602] that thou art dronken / and hast forgeten / Ihesu crist thy creatour / [2603] thou ne hast nat doon to hym swich honour and reuerence as thee oughte / [2604] ne thou ne hast nat wel ytaken kepe / to

Page 452

Scan of Page  452
View Page 452

[6-text p 229] the wordes of Ouide ¶ That seith ‖ [2605] vnder the hony [¶ Ouidius] of the goodes of the body / is hyd the venym / that sleeth the soule [2606] ¶ And salomon seith ¶ If thou hast [¶ Salomon] founden hony / ete of it that suffiseth / [2607] for if thou ete of it out of mesure / thou shalt spewe / and be nedy and poure / [2608] And perauenture / Crist hath thee in despit/ and hath turned awey fro thee his face and hise eeris of Misericorde [2609] ¶ And also / he hath [folio 165b] suffred / that thou hast been punysshed in the manere that thow hast ytrespassed [2610] ¶ Thou hast doon synne / agayn oure lord crist. [2611] for certes. the .iij. enemys of man|kynde / that is to seyn / the flessh / the feend and the world /. [2612] thou hast suffred hem / entre in to thyn herte wilfully by the wyndowes of thy body / [2613] and hast nat defended thy self suffisantly agayns hire assautes / and hire temptacions / so / that they han wounded thy soule / in .v. places / [2614] this is to seyn / the deedly synnes that been entred in-to thyn herte / by thy .v. wittes ‖. [2615] And in the same manere / oure lord crist hath woold and suffred / that thy .iij. enemys been entred / in-to thyn hous by the wyndowes / [2616] and han ywounded thy doghter in the foreseyde manere

[2617] ¶ Certes quod Melibee / I se wel that ye en|force [¶ Melibee] yow muchel by wordes / to ouercome me / in swich manere that I shal nat / venge me of myne enemys [2618] shewynge me the perils and the yueles / that myghten falle of this vengeance ‖ [2619] But who so wolde considere in alle vengeances the perils and yueles þat myghte sewe of vengeance takynge / [2620] a man wolde neuere take vengeance / and that were harm / [2621] for by the venge|ance takynge / been the wikked men disseuered fro the goode men [2622] ¶ And they that han wyl to do wikked|nesse / restreyne hir wikked purpos / whan they seen the punyssynge and chastisynge of the trespassours [2623] [Et a ce Respont dame prudence certes dist elle Ie t'ottroye que de vengence vient molt de maulx Et de biens;

Page 453

Scan of Page  453
View Page 453

[6-text p 230] [2624] Mais vengence n'appartient pas a vn chascun fors seulement aux iuges Et a ceulx qui ont la iuridicion sur les malfaitteurs. (MS Reg. 19 C. vii, leaf 136.)] [2625] ¶ And yet seye I moore /. that right as a singuler persone / synneth / in takynge vengeance of another man ./ [2626] right so / synneth the Iuge / if he do no vengeance of hem / that it han disserued ‖ [2627] ffor Senec seith [¶ Seneca] thus ¶ That maister he seith is good / that proueth shrewes [2628] ¶ And as Cassidore seith ¶ A man dredeth to do [¶ Cassidorus] outrages / whan he woot and knoweth / that it displeseth to the Iuges / and souereyns [2629] ¶ Another seith ¶ The Iuge þat dredeth to do right. maketh men shrewes ‖. [2630] And Seint Paule the Apostle / seith in his epistle / [¶ Paulus Apos|tolus ad Romanos] whan he writeth vn-to the Romayns; That the Iuges beren nat the spere / with-outen cause / [2631] but they beren it to punysse the shrewes and mysdoeres / and to defende the goode men [2632] ¶ If ye wol thanne take vengeance of youre enemys / ye shul retourne / or haue youre recours to the Iuge that hath the Iurisdiccion vp-on hem / [2633] and he shal punysse hem / as the lawe axeth and requireth

[2634] A quod Melibee / this vengeance / liketh me [¶ Melibee] no thyng [2635] ¶ I bithenke me now and take heede / how ffortune / hath norissed me fro my childhede / and hath holpen me / to passe many a stroong paas [2636] ¶ Now wol I assayen hire trowynge with goddes helpe / that she shal helpe me / my shame for to venge

[2637] Certes quod Prudence ¶ If ye wol werke by my [¶ Prudence] conseil / ye shul nat assaye ffortune by no wey / [2638] ne ye shul nat lene or bowe / vnto hire after the word of Senec [2639] ¶ ffor thynges / that been folily doon / and [¶ Seneca] that been in hope of ffortune / shullen neuere come to good ende ‖. [2640] And as the same Senec seith ¶ The moore cleer and the moore shynyng that ffortune is / the moore brotil / and the sonner broken she is ‖ [2641] trusteth nat in hire / for she nys nat stidefast ne stable [2642] for whan thow trowest to be moost seur and siker of hire

Page 454

Scan of Page  454
View Page 454

[6-text p 231] helpe she wol faille thee / and deceyue thee [2643] ¶ And where as ye seyn that ffortune hath norissed yow fro youre childhede /. [2644] I seye / that [folio 166a] in so muchel / shul ye / the lasse truste in hire and in hir wit ‖. [2645] ffor senec [¶ Seneca] seith ‖ what man that is norissed by ffortune / she maketh hym a greet fool [2646] ¶ Now thanne / syn ye desire / and axe vengeance / and the vengeance / that is doon after the lawe and bifore the Iuge / ne liketh yow nat [2647] And the vengeance that is doon in hope of ffortune is peril|ous and vncertein [2648] Thanne haue ye noon oother remedie / but for to haue youre recours / vnto the souereyn Iuge that vengeth / alle vileynyes and wronges /. [2649] And he shal venge yow / after that hym self witnesseth / where as he seith ‖. [2650] leueth the vengeance to me / and I shal do it

[2651] Melibee answerde ‖. If I ne venge me nat. of [¶ Melibee] the vileynye that men han doon to me [2652] .I. sompne or warne hem / that han doon to me that vileynye and alle othere / to do me another vileynye [2653] ¶ ffor it is writen ¶ If thou take no vengeance of an oold vileynye / thou somp|nest thyne Aduersaries to do thee a newe vileynye [2654] ¶ And also / for my suffrance / men wolden do to me so muchel vileynye / that I myghte neither bere it ne sus|teene / [2655] and so sholde I been put and holden ouer lowe [2656] ¶ ffor men seyn / In muchel suffrynge / shul manye thynges falle vn-to thee / whiche / thou shalt nat mowe suffre

[2657] Certes quod Prudence .I. graunte yow that [¶ Prudence] ouer muchel suffrance nys nat good / [2658] but yet ne folweth it nat ther-of / that euery persone / to whom men doon vileynye take of it vengeance / [2659] for that aper|teneth and longeth al oonly to the Iuges / for they shul venge the vileynyes and iniuries ‖. [2660] And ther-fore / tho two Auctoritees / that ye han seyd aboue / been oonly vnderstonden in the Iuges / [2661] for whan they suffren ouer muchel the wronges and the vileynyes to be doon

Page 455

Scan of Page  455
View Page 455

[6-text p 232] withouten punysshynge / [2662] they sompne nat a man al oonly / for to do newe wronges / but they comanden it [2663] ¶ Also a wys man seith / that the Iuge that cor|recteth nat the synnere comandeth and biddeth hym do synne [2664] ¶ And the Iuges and souereyns myghten in hir land so muchel suffre of the shrewes and mysdoeres / [2665] that they sholden by swich suffrance by proces of tyme / wexen of swich power and myght / that they sholden putte out the Iuges and the souereyns / from hir places / [2666] and atte laste maken hem lesen hire lordshipes

[2667] ¶ But lat vs now putte / that ye haue leue to venge yow / [2668] I seye / ye been nat of myght and power / as now to venge yow / [2669] for if ye wole maken comparison / vn-to the myght of youre Aduersaries / ye shul fynde in manye thynges / that I haue shewed yow er this / that hire condicion / is bettre than youres [2670] ¶ And therfore seye I that it is good as now / that ye suffre and be pacient

[2671] ¶ fforthermoore / ye knowen wel / that after the comune sawe / it is a woodnesse / a man / to stryue with a strenger / or a moore myghty man / than he is hym self ‖. [2672] And for to stryue with a man of euene strengthe / that is to seyn / with as strong a man as he; it is peril /. [2673] And for to stryue with a weyker man / it is folie [2674] ¶ And therfore / sholde a man flee stryuynge / as muchel as he myghte [2675] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ It is a [¶ Salomon] greet worshipe to a man / to kepen hym fro noyse and stryf [2676] ¶ And if it so bifalle or happe / that a man of gretter myght and strengthe / than thou art. do thee grevaunce / [2677] studie / and bisye thee rather to stille / the [folio 166b] same greuaunce / than for to venge thee ‖ [2678] ffor Senec seith ‖ That he putteth hym in greet peril / that [¶ Seneca] stryueth with a gretter man / than he is hym self [2679] ¶ And Caton seith / If a man of hyer estaat or degree / or [¶ Cato] moore myghty than thou / do thee anoy or greuance / suffre hym / [2680] for he that oones hath greued thee /

Page 456

Scan of Page  456
View Page 456

[6-text p 233] another tyme / may releeue thee and helpe; [2681] ¶ Yet sette I caas / ye haue bothe myght and licence / for to venge yow / [2682] .I. seye that ther be ful manye thynges / that shul restreyne yow / of vengeance takynge / [2683] and make yow / for to enclyne to suffre / and for to han pacience / in the thynges / that han been doon to yow [2684] ¶ ffirst and foreward / if ye wole considere the defautes / that been in youre owene persone / [2685] for whiche defautes / god hath suffred yow haue this tribulacion / as I haue seyd yow heer biforn [2686] ¶ ffor the Poete seith That we oghte paciently taken the tribu|lacions [¶ Poeta] that comen to vs whan we thynken and consideren / that we han disserued to haue hem [2687] ¶ And Seint Gregorie seith ‖ That whan a man considereth wel the [¶ Gregorius] nombre of hise defautes / and of his synnes /. [2688] the peynes and the tribulacions that he suffreth / semen / the lesse vn-to hym [2689] And in as muche / as hym thynk|eth / hise synnes moore heuy and greuous / [2690] in so muche / semeth his peyne the lighter / an[d] the esier vn-to hym [2691] ¶ Also / ye owen to enclyne and bowe youre herte / to take the pacience of oure lord Ihesu crist ‖ As seith seint Peter in hise Epistles [2692] ¶ Ihesu crist he [¶ Petrus in epis|tolis] seith / hath suffred for vs and yeuen ensample to euery man / to folwe and sewe hym / [2693] for he dide neuere synne / ne neuere cam ther a vileynous word out of his mouþ / [2694] whan men cursed hym / he cursed hem noght. And whan men betten hym / he manaced hem noght. [2695] ¶ Also / the grete pacience / which the seintes that been in Paradys / han had in tribulacions that they han ysuffred with-outen hir desert or gilt. [2696] oghte muchel stiren yow to pacience [2697] ¶ fforther|moore / ye sholde enforce yow / to haue pacience / [2698] considerynge / that the tribulacions of this world / but litel while endure / and soone passed been and goone [2699] ¶ And the ioye that a man / seketh to haue by pacience in tribulacions / is perdurable / after that the

Page 457

Scan of Page  457
View Page 457

[6-text p 234] Apostle seith in his epistle [2700] ¶ The ioye of god / he [¶ Apostolus in epistola] seith is perdurable / that is to seyn euerelastynge [2701] ¶ Also troweþ and bileueth stedefastly / that he nys nat wel ynorissed ne wel ytaught that kan nat haue pacience / or wol nat receyue pacience; [2702] ffor Salomon seith [¶ Salomon] ¶ That the doctrine and the wit of a man / is knowen by pacience [2703] ¶ And in another place he seith ¶ that he that is pacient. gouerneth hym by greet prudence [2704] ¶ And the same Salomon seith The angry and wrathful man / maketh noyses / And the pacient man atempreth hem and stilleth [2705] ¶ He seith also / It is moore worth to be pacient than for to be right strong. [2706] And he that may haue the lordshipe of his owene herte / is moore to preyse / than he that by his force or strengthe taketh grete Citees [2707] ¶ And therfore / seith Seint Iame in his Epistle ¶ That pacience / is a greet vertu of [¶ Iacobus in epis|tola] perfeccion

[2708] ¶ Certes quod Melibee /. I graunte yow Dame [¶ Melibee] Prudence / that pacience / is a greet vertu of perfeccion / [2709] but euery man may nat haue the perfeccion þat ye seken / [2710] ne I nam nat of the nombre / of right par|fite men / [2711] for myn [folio 167a] herte / may neuere been in pees / vn-to the tyme it be venged / [2712] And al be it so that it was greet peril to myne enemys / to do me a vileynye / in takynge vengeance vp-on me /. [2713] yet tooken they noon heede of the peril / but fulfilleden / hir wikked wyl and hir corage [2714] ¶ And therfore / me thynketh men oghten nat repreue me / though I putte me in a litel peril for to venge me / [2715] And though .I. do a greet excesse / that is to seyn / that I venge oon outrage by another

[2716] A quod dame Prudence / ye seyn youre wyl / [¶ Prudence] and as yow liketh / [2717] but in no caas of the world / a man sholde nat doon outrage ne excesse / for to vengen hym [2718] ¶ ffor Cassidore seith ‖ That as yuele dooth [¶ Cassidorus] he that vengeth hym by outrage / as he that dooth the

Page 458

Scan of Page  458
View Page 458

[6-text p 235] outrage ‖. [2719] And therfore / ye shul venge yow / after the ordre of right / that is to seyn by the lawe / and noght by excesse ne by outrage [2720] ¶ And also / If ye wol venge yow of the outrage of youre Aduersaries in oother manere than right comandeth / ye synnen; [2721] And therfore seith Senec ‖. That a man shal neuere vengen shrewednesse / by shrewednesse [2722] ¶ And if ye seye / that right axeth / a man to defenden violence by violence / and fightyng by fightyng? [2723] Certes / ye seye sooth whan the defense is doon anon with-outen Interualle or with-outen tariyng or delay [2724] for to deffenden hym / and nat for to vengen hym; [2725] ¶ And it bihoueth / that a man putte swich attemperance in his deffense; [2726] that men haue no cause ne matiere / to repreuen hym that deffendeth hym of excesse and outrage / for ellis were it agayn reson [2727] ¶ Pardee / ye knowen wel / that ye maken no deffense as now / for to deffende yow but for to venge yow / [2728] and so sheweth it that ye han no wyl to do youre dede attemprely ‖. [2729] And therfore / me thynketh that pacience is good ‖ ffor Salomon [¶ Salomon] seith ¶ That he that is nat pacient shal haue greet harm

[2730] Certes quod Melibee / I graunte yow / that [¶ Melibee] whan a man is inpacient and wrooth / of that þat toucheth hym noght and that aperteneth nat vn-to hym / though it harme hym / it is no wonder ‖ [2731] ffor the lawe seith ‖ That he is coupable that entremetteth or medleth / with swych thyng as aperteneth nat vn-to hym [2732] ¶ And Salomon seith ‖ That he that entremetteth hym of the [¶ Salomon] noyse or strif / of another man /.is lyk to hym / that taketh an hound by the eris ‖ [2733] ffor right as he that taketh a straunge hound by the eris / is outherwhile / biten with the hound [2734] Right in the same wise is it reson / that he haue harm / that by his inpacience / medleth hym / of the noyse of another man / where-as it aperteneth nat vn-to hym [2735] ¶ But ye knowen wel / that this dede / that

Page 459

Scan of Page  459
View Page 459

[6-text p 236] is to seyn / my grief and my disese / toucheth me right ny ‖. [2736] And therfore / though I be wrooth and in|pacient. it is no merueille / [2737] And sauynge youre grace / I kan nat seen / that it myghte greetly harme me / though I tooke vengeaunce / [2738] for I am richer / and moore myghty than myne enemys been / [2739] And wel knowen ye / that by moneye and by hauynge grete posses|sions / been alle the thynges of this world gouerned [2740] ¶ And Salomon seith ¶ That alle thynges / obeyen to [¶ Salomon'] moneye /.

[2741] Whan Prudence / hadde herd hir housbonde [¶ Prudence] auanten hym of his richesse and of his moneye / dispreis|ynge the power of hise Aduersaries / she spak / and seyde in this wise [2742] ¶ Certes / deere sire I graunte yow that ye been riche and myghty / [2743] and that the richesses been goode / to hem þat han hem wel ygeten hem / and wel konne vsen hem ‖. [2744] ffor [folio 167b] right as the body of a man / may nat lyuen with-oute the soule / namoore may it lyue / with-outen temporeel goodes / [2745] And for rich|esses / may a man gete hym grete freendes [2746] ¶ And therfore seith Pamphilles ¶ If a netherdes doghter seith [¶ Pamphilles] he / be riche / she may chesen of a thousand men / [lequel quelle veult pour mary (MS Reg. 19 C. vii, lf 140)] [2747] for of a thousand men / oon wol nat forsaken hire ne refusen hire [2748] ¶ And this Pamphilles seith also ¶ If thow be right happy /. that is to seyn / If thou be right riche / thou shalt fynde a greet nombre of felawes and freendes ‖. [2749] And if thy ffortune change / that thou wexe poure / fare|wel / freendshipe and felaweshipe / [2750] for thou shalt be al alloone with-outen any compaignye / but if it be / the compaignye of poure folk [2751] ¶ And yet seith / this Pamphilles moreouer ¶ That they that been thralle and bonde of lynage shullen been maad worthy and noble by the richesses [2752] ¶ And right so / as by richesses / ther comen manye goodes /. right so by pouerte come ther manye harmes and yueles /. [2753] for greet pouerte con|streyneth

Page 460

Scan of Page  460
View Page 460

[6-text p 237] a man / to do manye yueles /. [2754] And ther|fore / clepeth Cassidore / pouerte / the mooder of Ruyne / [¶ Cassidorus] [2755] that is to seyn / the mooder of ouerthrowynge or fallynge doun [2756] ¶ And therfore seith Piers Alfonce ‖. [¶ Petrus Alfonee] Oon of the gretteste Aduersitees of this world is / [2757] whan a free man / by kynde or by burthe is constreyned by pouerte to eten the Almesse of his enemy [2758] ¶ And the same seith Innocent in oon of hise bookes ‖. he seith / [¶ Innocencius] that sorweful and myshappy / is the condicion of a poure beggere / [2759] for if he axe nat his mete / he dyeth for hunger /. [2760] And if he axe / he dyeth for shame / And algates necessitee constreyneth hym to axe [2761] ¶ And therfore seith Salomon ‖ That bet it is to dye / than [¶ Salomon] for to haue swich pouerte; [2762] ¶ And as the same Salo|mon seith ¶ Bettre it is to dye of bitter deeth than for to lyuen / in swich wise [2763] ¶ By thise resons / that I haue seid vn-to yow / and by manye othere resons that I koude seye? / [2764] I graunte yow / that richesses been goode to hem / that geten hem wel / and to hem that wel vsen tho richesses [2765] ¶ And therfore wol I shewe yow / hou ye shul haue yow / and how ye shul bere yow in gaderynge of richesses / and in what manere / ye shul vsen hem

[2766] ¶ ffirst ye shul geten hem with-outen greet desir / by good leyser sekyngly / and nat ouer hastily / [2767] ffor a man that is to desirynge to gete richesses / abaundoneth hym first to thefte / and to alle other yueles [2768] ¶ And therfore seith Salomon ¶ He that hasteth [¶ Salomon] hym to bisily / to wexe riche shal be noon Innocent [2769] ¶ He seith also /. that the richesse that hastily cometh to a man / soone and lightly / gooth and passeth fro a man [2770] ¶ but that richesse / that cometh litel and litel wexeth alwey and multiplieth [2771] ¶ And sire / ye shul geten richesses / by youre wit and by youre trauaille vn-to youre profit. [2772] and that with-outen wrong or harm doynge / to any oother persone [2773] ¶ ffor the lawe

Page 461

Scan of Page  461
View Page 461

[6-text p 238] seith / that ther maketh no man himseluen riche / if he do harm to another wight ‖ [2774] This is to seyn / that nature deffendeth and forbedeth by right that no man make hym-self riche / vn-to the harm of another persone [2775] ¶ And Tullius seith ‖ þat no sorwe / ne no drede [¶ Tullius] of deeth / ne no thyng that may falle vn-to a man / [2776] is so muchel agayns nature / as a man to encressen his owene profit to the harm of another man ‖ [2777] And though the grete men [folio 168a] and the myghty men geten richesses moore lightly than thou /. [2778] yet shaltou nat been ydel ne slow to do thy profit. for thou shalt in alle wise flee ydel|nesse [2779] ¶ ffor Salomon seith /. that ydelnesse / techeth [¶ Salomon] a man to do manye yueles [2780] ¶ And the same Salomon seith ‖ That he that trauailleth and bisieth hym to tilien his land / shal eten breed [2781] but he that is ydel / and casteth hym to no bisynesse ne occupacion / shal falle in-to pouerte / and dye for hunger [2782] ¶ And he that is ydel and slow / kan neuere fynde couenable tyme for to doon his profit. [2783] ffor ther is a versifiour seith / that [¶ Vnde versifi|cator] the ydel man excuseth hym in wynter / by cause of the grete coold and in somer / by encheson of the heete ‖. [2784] ffor thise causes seiþ Caton ‖. waketh and enclyneth [¶ Cato] nat yow ouer muchel / for to slepe / for ouer muchel reste norisseth and causeth manye vices ‖. [2785] And therfore / seith Seint Ierome ‖. Dooth somme goodes / that the deuel / [¶ Sanctus Ieron|imus] which is oure enemy / ne fynde yow nat vnocupied ‖. [2786] ffor the deuel ne taketh nat lightly vn-to his werk|ynge swiche as he fyndeth occupied in goode werkes

[2787] ¶ Thanne thus / In getynge richesses / ye mosten flee ydelnesse ‖. [2788] And afterward ye shul vse the richesses / whiche ye haue geten by youre wit and by youre trauaille / [2789] in swich a manere / that men holde nat yow / to scars ne to sparynge ne to fool large / that is to seyn / ouer large a spendere / [2790] for right as men blamen an Auaricious man / by cause / of his scarsetee and chyngerie / [2791] In the same wise is he to blame

Page 462

Scan of Page  462
View Page 462

[6-text p 239] that spendeth ouer largely ‖. [2792] And therfore seith Caton ¶ Vse he seith / thy richesses that thou hast geten [¶ Cato] [2793] in swich a manere / that men haue / no matiere ne cause / to calle thee / neiþer wrecche ne chynche / [2794] for it is a greet shame to a man / to haue a pouere herte and a riche purs [2795] ¶ He seith also / the goodes that thou hast ygeten / vse hem by mesure / that is to seyn / spende hem mesurably / [2796] for they that folily / wasten and despenden / the goodes that they han? [2797] whan they han namoore propre of hir owene / they shapen hem to take the goodes of another man [2798] ¶ I seye thanne / that ye shul fleen Auarice / [2799] vsynge youre richesses / in swich manere / that men seye nat þat youre richesses been yburyed / [2800] but þat ye haue hem in youre myght and in youre weeldynge [2801] ¶ ffor a wys man / repreueth the Auaricious man / and seith thus / in two vers [2802] ¶ Wherto and why / burieth a man hise [¶ Vnde versifi|cator] goodes by his grete Auarice / and knoweth wel that nedes moste he dye / [2803] for deeth is the ende of euery man / as in this present lyf [2804] ¶ And for what cause / or encheson ioyneth he hym / or knytteth he hym / so faste vn-to hise goodes / [2805] that alle hise wittes mowen nat disseueren hym / or departen hym from hise goodes / [2806] and knoweth wel / or oghte knowe / that whan he is deed / he shal no thyng bere with hym / out of this world [2807] ¶ And ther-fore seith seint Augustyn ‖ That [¶ Augustinus] the Auaricious man is likned vn-to helle / [2808] that the moore it swelweth / the moore desir it hath to swelwe and deuoure / [2809] And as wel / as ye wolde eschewe / to be called an Auaricious man / or chynche / [2810] as wel sholde ye kepe yow and gouerne yow / in swich a wise / that men calle yow nat fool large [2811] ¶ Therfore seith Tullius ‖. The goodes he seith of thyn hous / ne sholde [¶ Tullius] nat been hyd / ne kept so cloos [folio 168b] but that they myghte been opened by pitee and debonairetee [2812] ¶ that is to seyn / to yeuen part to hem that han greet nede /. [2813]

Page 463

Scan of Page  463
View Page 463

[6-text p 240] ne thy goodes / shullen nat been so opene / to been euery mannes goodes [2814] ¶ Afterward / in getynge of youre richesses / and in vsynge hem / ye shul alwey / haue thre thynges in youre herte /. [2815] that is to seyn / Oure lord god / Conscience / and good name [2816] ¶ ffirst / ye shul haue god in youre herte / [2817] and for no richesse / ye shullen do no thyng. which may in any manere displese god / that is youre creatour and makere [2818] ¶ ffor after the word of Salomon ¶ It is bettre to haue a litel good [¶ Salomon] with the loue of god / [2819] than to haue / muchel good and tresour / and lese the loue of his lord god [2820] ¶ And the prophete seith ‖ That bettre it is / to been a [¶ Propheta] good man and haue litel good and tresour / [2821] than to been holden a shrewe / and haue grete richesses [2822] ¶ And yet seye I ferthermoore / that ye sholde alwey doon youre bisynesse to gete yow richesses / [2823] so that ye gete hem with good conscience [2824] ¶ And thapostle [¶ Apostoius] seith ‖. that ther nys thyng in this world / of which / we sholden haue so greet ioye / as whan oure Conscience bereth vs good witnesse [2825] ¶ And the wise man seith ‖ The [¶ Sapiens] substance of a man is ful good / whan synne is nat in mannes conscience [2826] ¶ Afterward in getynge of youre richesses / and in vsynge of hem / [2827] yow moste haue greet bisynesse and greet diligence / that youre goode name / be alwey kept and conserued ‖. [2828] ffor salo|mon [¶ Salomon] seith /. that bettre it is / and moore it auailleth a man to haue a good name / than for to haue grete richesses? [2829] And therfore / he seith in another place ¶ Do greet diligence seith Salomon / in kepyng of thy freend / and of thy goode name / [2830] for it shal lenger abide with thee / than any tresour / be it neuer so precious [2831] ¶ And certes he sholde nat be called a gentil man / that after god and good conscience / alle thynges left. ne dooth his diligence and bisynesse / to kepen his good name [2832] ¶ And Cassidore seith ¶ That it is signe of gentil [¶ Cassidorus] herte? whan a man loueth and desireth to han a good name

Page 464

Scan of Page  464
View Page 464

[6-text p 241] [2833] ¶ And therfore seith Seint Augustyn ¶ That ther [¶ Augustinus] been two thynges / that arn necessarie and nedefulle / [2834] and that is good Conscience and good loos / [2835] þat is to seyn / good Conscience / to thyn owene persone inward / and good loos for thy neighebore outward /. [2836] And he that trusteth hym so muchel in his goode conscience / [2837] that he displeseth / and setteth at noght his goode name or loos / and rekketh noght though he kepe nat his goode name / nys but a crueel cherl /

[2838] Sire / now haue I shewed yow / how ye shul do in getynge richesses / and how / ye shullen vsen hem / [2839] and I se wel / that for the trust that ye han in youre richesses / ye wole moeue werre and bataille [2840] ¶ I conseille yow / that ye bigynne no werre / in trust of youre richesses / for they ne suffisen noght werres to mayn|tene [2841] ¶ And therfore / seith a Philosophre ¶ That [¶ Philosophus] man / that desireth / and wole algates han werre / shal neuere haue suffisaunce / [2842] for the richer that he is / the gretter despenses moste he make / if he wole haue wor|shipe and victorie [2843] ¶ And Salomon seith ‖. That the [¶ Salomon] gretter richesses that a man hath / the mo despendours he hath [2844] ¶ And deere sire / al be it so / that for youre richesses / ye mowe haue muchel folk [2845] yet bihoueth it nat. ne it is nat good to bigynne werre / where as ye mowe in oother manere / haue pees vn-to youre worshipe and [folio 169a] profit [2846] ¶ ffor the victories of batailles that been in this world / lyen nat in greet nombre or multitude of the peple / ne in the vertu of man / [2847] but it lith in the wyl / and in the hand of oure lord god almyghty [2848] ¶ And therfore / Iudas Machabeus / which was goddes knyght. [2849] whan he sholde fighte agayn his aduersarie that hadde a greet nombre / and a gretter mul|titude of folk / and strenger than was this peple of Macha|bee /. [2850] yet he reconforted his litel compaignye / and seyde right in this wise [2851] ¶ Als lightly quod he / may oure lord god almyghty yeue victorie to a fewe folk

Page 465

Scan of Page  465
View Page 465

[6-text p 242] as to many folk. [2852] for the victorie of a bataile comth nat by the grete nombre of peple / [2853] but it come / from oure lord god of heuene [2854] ¶ And deere sire / for as muchel / as ther is no man certein / if he be worthy / that god yeue hym victorie [ne plus que il est certain se il est digne de l'amour de Dieu (Le Ménagier, i. 226)] or naught /. After that Salomon seith / [2855] therfore / euery man sholde greetly [¶ Salomon] drede werres to bigynne / [2856] ¶ And by cause / that in batailles / fallen manye perils / [2857] and happeth outher while / that as soone is the grete man slayn as the litel man /. [2858] And as it is writen / in the seconde book of [¶ In libro Regum] kynges The dedes of batailles been auenturouse / and no thyng certeyne / [2859] for as lightly is oon hurt with a spere as another ‖. [2860] And for ther is gret peril in werre / therfore / sholde a man flee and eschue werre / in as muchel as a man may goodly ‖. [2861] ffor Salomon [¶ Salomon] seith /. He that loueth peril shal falle in peril

[2862] After that Dame Prudence / hadde spoken in [¶ Melibee] this manere / Melibee answerde and seyde [2863] ¶ I see wel dame Prudence that by youre faire wordes / and by youre resons that ye han shewed me / that the werre liketh yow no thyng. [2864] but I haue nat yet herd youre con|seil / how I shal do in this nede

[2865] Certes quod she I conseille yow / that ye [¶ Prudence] accorde with youre aduersaries / and that ye haue pees with hem [2866] ¶ ffor Seint Iame seith / in hise epistles [¶ Sanctus Iacobus in epistolis] ¶ That by concord and pees / the smale richesses wexen grete / [2867] and by debaat and discord / the grete richesses fallen doun [2868] ¶ And ye knowen wel that oon of the gretteste and moost souereyn thyng. that is in this world / is vnytee and pees [2869] ¶ And therfore / seyde oure lord [¶ Dominus Apos|tolis suis] Ihesu crist to hise Apostles in this wise [.2870] ¶ wel happy and blessed been they / that louen and purchacen pees / for they been called children of god [2871] A quod Melibee /. now se I wel / that ye louen nat myn honour / [¶ Melibee] ne my worshipe [2872] ¶ Ye knowen wel that myne

Page 466

Scan of Page  466
View Page 466

[6-text p 243] Aduersaries / han bigonnen this debaat and bryge / by hire outrage / [2873] and ye se wel that they ne requeren ne preyen me nat of pees / ne they asken nat to be reconsiled [2874] ¶ wol ye thanne / that I go and meke me and obeye me to hem and crie hem mercy?/. [2875] ffor sothe / that were nat my worshipe [2876] ffor right as men seyn / that ouer greet hoomlynesse / engendreth dispreisynge /· so fareth it by to greet humylitee or mekenesse

[2877] Thanne bigan dame Prudence / to maken sem|blant [¶ Prudence] of wratthe / and seyde [2878] ¶ Certes sire / sauf youre grace / I loue youre honour and youre profit as I do myn owene / and euere haue doon / [2879] ne ye ne noon oother / syen neuere the contrarie [2880] ¶ And yit if I hadde seyd / that ye sholde han purchaced the pees / and the reconsiliacion /. I ne hadde nat muchel mystaken me / ne seyd amys /. [2881] ffor the wise man seiþ ¶ The dis|sension [¶ Sapiens] / bigynneth by another man / and the reconsilyng by [folio 169b] gynneth by thy self [2882] ¶ And the prophete seith ‖. [¶ propheta] fflee shrewednesse and do goodnesse / [2883] seke pees and folwe it as muchel as in thee is [2884] ¶ Yet seye I nat that ye shul rather pursue to youre Aduersaries for pees than they shuln to yow ‖. [2885] for I knowe wel / that ye been so hard-herted / that ye wol do no thyng for me [2886] ¶ And Salomon seith ‖. he that hath ouer hard an [¶ Salomon] herte / atte laste / he shal myshappe and mystyde

[2887] Whanne Melibee hadde herd dame Prudence [¶ Melibee] maken semblant of wratthe / he seyde in this wise [2888] ¶ Dame I prey yow that ye be nat displesed / of thynges that I seye [2889] for ye knowe wel that I am angry and wrooth / and that is no wonder / [2890] and they that been wrothe / witen nat wel / what they don ne what they seyn [2891] ¶ Therfore / the prophete seith ¶ That [¶ propheta] troubled eyen / han no cleer sighte [2892] ¶ but seyeth and conseileth me as yow liketh / for I am redy to do right as ye wol desire / [2893] and if ye repreue me of my folye / I am the moore holden / to loue yow and preyse

Page 467

Scan of Page  467
View Page 467

[6-text p 244] yow [2894] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖. That he þat repreueth [¶ Salomon] hym that dooth folye / [2895] he shal fynde gretter grace than he / that deceyueth hym by sweete wordes

[2896] Thanne seide dame Prudence ¶ I make no semblant of wratthe ne Anger / but for youre grete profit [2897] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖. He is moore worth that re|preueth [¶ Salomon] / or chideth a fool for his folye shewynge hym semblant of wratthe / [2898] than he that supporteth hym and p[r]eyseth hym in his mysdoynge and laugheth at his folye [2899] ¶ And this same Salomon / seith afterward .‖. That by the sorweful visage of a man / that is to seyn / by the sory and heuy contenance of a man / [2900] the fool correcteth and amendeth hym self

[2901] Thanne seyde Melibee ¶ I shal nat konne an|swere [¶ Melibee] to so manye faire resons / as ye putten to me and shewen / [2902] seyeth shortly youre wyl and youre con|seil / and I am al redy to fulfille and parfourne it

[2903] Thanne dame Prudence / discouered al hir wyl [¶ Prudence] to hym / and seyde [2904] ¶ I conseille yow quod she abouen alle thynges / that ye make pees / bitwene god and yow / [2905] and beth reconsiled vn-to hym and to his grace ‖ [2906] ffor as I haue seyd yow heer biforn /. god hath suffred yow to haue this tribulacion and disese for youre synnes / [2907] And if ye do as I sey yow / god wol sende youre Aduersaries vn-to yow [2908] and maken hem fallen at youre feet redy to do youre wyl and youre com|andementz [2909] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖. whan the con|dicion [¶ Salomon] of man is plesaunt and likynge to god /. [2910] he chaungeth the hertes of the mannes Aduersaries and con|streyneth hem / to biseken hym / of pees and of grace / [2911] and I prey yow / lat me speke with youre Aduersaries in priuee place / [2912] for they shul nat knowe / that it be of youre wyl / or youre assent. [2913] and thanne whan I knowe / hir wil and hire entente /. I may conseille yow the moore seurely

[2914] Dame quod Melibee / dooth youre wil and [¶ Melibee]

Page 468

Scan of Page  468
View Page 468

[6-text p 245] youre likynge /. [2915] for I putte me hoolly / in youre disposicion and ordinaunce

[2916] Thanne Dame Prudence / whan she saugh the [¶ Prudence] goode wyl of hir housbonde / delibered and took auys in hir self. [2917] thinkinge / how she myghte brynge this nede / vn-to a good conclusion / and to a good ende /. [2918] And whan she saugh hir tyme / she sente for thise Aduersaries / to come vn-to hire in to a pryuee place / [2919] and shewed wisely vn-to hem / the grete goodes that comen of pees / [2920] and the grete har [folio 170a] mes and perils / that been in werre / [2921] and seyde to hem / in a goodly manere /. hou that hem oughten / haue greet re|pentaunce / [2922] of the Iniurie and wrong that they hadden doon / to Melibee hir lord / and to hire / And to hire doghter

[2923] And whan they herden the goodliche wordes of Dame Prudence / [2924] they weren so supprised and rauysshed / and hadden so greet ioye of hire / that wonder was to telle [2925] ¶ A lady quod they / ye han shewed vn-to vs / the blessynge of swetnesse / after the sawe of Dauid the prophete / [2926] for the reconsilynge / which we been nat worthy to haue in no manere / [2927] but we oghte requeren it with greet contricion and humylitee / [2928] ye of youre grete goodnesse haue presented vnto vs [2929] ¶ Now se we wel / that the science and the konnynge of Salomon is ful trewe [2930] ¶ ffor he seith ‖ That sweete wordes / multiplien and encreesen freendes / and maken shrewes / to be debonaire and meeke

[2931] ¶ Certes quod they ./ we putten oure dede and al oure matere and cause / al hoolly / in youre goode wyl / [2932] and been redy to obeye to the speche and comande|ment of my lord Melibee [2933] ¶ And therfore deere and benygne lady / we preien yow and biseke yow as mekely as we konne and mowen / [2934] that it lyke vn-to youre grete goodnesse / to fulfillen in dede / youre good|liche wordes / [2935] for we consideren and knowelichen /

Page 469

Scan of Page  469
View Page 469

[6-text p 246] that we han offended and greued my lord Melibee out of mesure /. [2936] so ferforth / that we be nat of power / to maken hise amendes / [2937] and therfore / we oblige and bynden vs and oure freendes / to doon al his wyl and hise comandementz ‖ [2938] ¶ but perauenture / he hath swich heuynesse / and swich wratthe to vs ward / by cause of oure offense / [2939] that he wole enioyne vs swich a peyne / as we mowe nat bere ne susteene /. [2940] and therfore noble lady / we biseke / to youre wommanly pitee / [2941] to taken swich auysement in this nede / that we / ne oure freendes / be nat desherited ne destroyed / thurgh oure folye

[2942] Certes quod Prudence / it is an hard thyng and [¶ Prudence] right perilous / [2943] that a man putte hym al outrely / in the arbitracion and Iuggement. and in the myght and power of hise enemys [2944] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ Leeueth [¶ Salomon] me / and yeueth credence / to that I shal seyn ¶ I seye quod he ¶ ye peple / folk and gouernours of hooly chirche [2945] ¶ to thy sone / to thy wyf / to thy freend / ne to thy broother / [2946] ne yeue thou neuere myght ne maistrie of thy body / whil thou lyuest. [2947] ¶ Now sithen he deffendeth / that man shal nat yeuen to his broother / ne to his freend / the myght of his body? [2948] by strenger reson he deffendeth / and forbedeth a man / to yeuen hym self to his enemy [2949] ¶ And nathe|lees I conseille you / that ye / mystruste nat my lord / [2950] for I woot wel / and knowe verraily / that he is / debonaire and meeke / large / curteys / [2951] and no thyng desirous ne coueitous of good ne richesse [2952] ¶ for ther nys no thyng in this world that he desireth / saue oonly / worshipe and honour [2953] ¶ fforther-moore I knowe wel / and am right seur / that he shal no thyng doon in this nede / with-outen my conseil / [2954] And I shal so werken in this cause / that by grace of oure lord god / ye shul been reconsiled vn-to vs

[2955] Thanne seyden they / with o. [folio 170b] voys ‖ worshipful

Page 470

Scan of Page  470
View Page 470

[6-text p 247] lady we putten vs and oure goodes al fully in youre wil and disposicion / [2956] and been redy / to comen / what day þat it like vn-to youre noblesse to lymyte vs or assigne vs [2957] for to maken oure obligacion and boond as strong as it liketh vn-to youre goodnesse / [2958] that we mowe fulfille the wille of yow / and of my lord Melibee

[2959] Whan Dame Prudence / hadde herd the an|sweres [¶ Prudence] of thise men / she bad hem / goon agayn priuely / [2960] and she retourned to hir lord Melibee / and tolde hym / how she foond hise Aduersaries ful repentant [2961] knowelechynge ful lowely hir synnes and trespas / and how they were redy to suffren all peyne / [2962] requirynge and preiynge hym of mercy and pitee;

[2963] Thanne seyde Melibee ¶ he is wel worthy to [¶ Melibee] haue pardon and foryifnesse of his synne þat excuseth nat his synne / [2964] but knowelecheth it and repenteth hym / axinge Indulgence [2965] ¶ ffor Senec / seith ‖. ther [¶ Seneca] is the remission and foryifnesse . where as confession is [2966] ¶ ffor Confession is neighebore to Innocence [2967] [et dit autre part: cellui est presque innocent qui a honte de son péchié et le recongnoist. (Le Ménagier, i. 231)] And therfore I assente and corforme me to haue pees / [2968] but it is good þat we do it nat with-outen the assent and wyl of oure freendes

[2969] Thanne was Prudence right glad and ioyeful / [¶ Prudence] and seyde [2970] ¶ Certes sire quod she ye han wel and goodly answered [2971] ffor right as by the conseil / assent and helpe of youre freendes / ye han been stired / to venge yow and maken werre? [2972] right so with|outen hire conseil / shul ye nat accorden yow / ne haue pees with youre Aduersaries [2973] ¶ ffor the lawe seith ‖ ther nys no thyng so good by wey of kynde / as a thyng to been vnbounde by hym þat it was ybounde

[2974] ¶ And thanne Dame Prudence with-outen delay or tariynge / sente anon hire messages for hire kyn and for hire olde freendes / whiche þat were trewe and wyse / [2975]

Page 471

Scan of Page  471
View Page 471

[6-text p 248] and tolde hem by ordre / in the presence of Melibee al this mateere as it is abouen expressed and declared / [2976] and preyden þat they wolde yeuen hire auys and con|seil / what best were to doon in this nede [2977] ¶ And whan Melibees freendes hadde taken hire auys and deliber|acion of the forseide mateere / [2978] and hadden examyned it by greet bisynesse and greet diligence / [2979] they yaue ful conseil for to haue pees and reste / [2980] and þat Melibee / sholde receyue with good herte hise aduersaries / to foryifnesse and mercy

[2981] And whan dame Prudence hadde herd the assent of hir lord Melibee / and the conseil of hise freendes [2982] accorde with hire wille and hire entencion / [2983] she was wonderly glad in hire herte / and seyde [2984] ¶ Ther is an old prouerbe quod she seith ‖. That the [¶ Prudence] goodnesse þat thou mayst do this day / do it [2985] and abide nat ne delaye it nat til to morwe [2986] ¶ And therfore / I conseille þat ye sende youre messages swiche as been discrete and wise / [2987] vn-to youre Aduersaries / tellynge hem on youre bihalue / [2988] þat if they wole trete of pees and of accord / [2989] that they shape hem / with-outen delay or tariyng to comen vn-to vs / [2990] which thyng parfourned was in dede [2991] ¶ And whanne thise trespassours and repentynge folk of hire folies / that is to seyn / the Aduersaries of Melibee / [2992] hadden herd / what thise Messagers seyden vn-to hem / [2993] they weren right glad and ioyeful / and answereden ful mekely and benignely / [2994] yeldynge graces and thankynges to hir lord Melibee and to al his compaignye / [2995] and shopen hem with-outen delay to go with the Messagers and obeye to the comandement of hir lord Melibee

[2996] ¶ And right anon / they tooken hire wey to the Court of Melibee / [2997] and tooken with hem / somme of hire trewe freendes / to maken feith for hem and for to been hire borwes / [2998] and whan they were comen / [folio 171a] to

Page 472

Scan of Page  472
View Page 472

[6-text p 249] the presence of Melibee / he seyde hem thise wordes [2999] It standeth thus quod Melibee / and sooth it is / [¶ Melibee] that ye [3000] causelees and with-outen skile and reson [3001] han doon grete Iniuries and wronges / to me and to my wyf Prudence; and to my doghter also / [3002] for ye han entred in to myn hous by violence [3003] and haue doon swich outrage þat alle men knowen wel þat ye haue disserued the deeth / [3004] and therfore / wol I knowe and wite of yow / [3005] wheither ye wol putte the punyssement and the chastisynge / and the vengeance of this outrage / in the wyl of me / and of my wyf Prudence / or ye wol nat

[3006] Thanne / the wiseste of hem thre answerde for hem alle and seyde [3007] ¶ Sire quod he / we knowen wel / þat we been vnworthy / to comen vn-to the Court of so greet a lord and so worthy as ye been? [3008] ffor we han so greetly mystaken vs / and han offended and agilt in swich a wise / agayn youre heigh lordshipe / [3009] that trewely / we han disserued the deeth / [3010] but yet for the grete goodnesse and debonairetee þat al the world / witnesseth in youre persone / [3011] we submytten vs / to the excellence and benignitee of youre gracious lordshipe / [3012] and been redy to obeie to alle youre comandementz / [3013] bisekynge yow / that of youre merciable pitee / ye wol considere oure grete repentance and lough submyssion [3014] and graunten vs foryeuenesse of oure outrageous trespas and offense / [3015] for wel we knowe þat youre liberal grace and mercy / strecchen hem ferther in-to good|nesse / than doon oure outrageouse giltes and trespas in-to wikkednesse / [3016] al be it þat cursedly and damp|nablely / we han agilt agayn youre heigh lordshipe

[3017] Thanne Melibee / took hem vp fro the ground ful benignely [3018] and receyued hire obligacions and hir boondes by hire othes vp-on hire plegges and borwes / [3019] and assigned hem a certeyn day / to retourne vn-to his Court . [3020] for to accepte and receyue the sentence and

Page 473

Scan of Page  473
View Page 473

[6-text p 250] Iuggement þat Melibee wolde comande to be doon on hem by the causes aforeseyd / [3021] whiche thynges ordeyned /. euery man retourned to his hous ‖

[3022] And whan þat dame Prudence saugh hir tyme / she freyned and axed hir lord Melibee / [3023] what vengeance / he thoughte / to taken of hise Aduersaries

[3024] To which Melibee answerde and seyde ¶ Certes [¶ Melibee] quod he / I thynke and purpose me fully / [3025] to des|herite hem / of al þat euere they han / and for to putte hem / in exil for euere

[3026] Certes quod dame Prudence / this were a crueel [¶ Prudence] sentence and muchel agayn reson / [3027] ffor ye been riche ynough and han no nede of oother mennes good / [3028] and ye myghte lightly in this wise gete yow a coueitous name / [3029] which is a vicious thyng and oghte been eschued of euery good man [3030] ffor after the sawe of the word of the Apostle /. Coueitise is roote of alle harmes / [¶ Apostolus] [3031] And therfore it were bettre for yow / to lese so muchel good of youre owene / than for to taken of hir good in this manere / [3032] for bettre it is to lesen with worshipe / than it is to wynne with vileynye and shame /. [3033] And eueri man oghte to doon his diligence and his bisynesse / to geten hym a good name /. [3034] And yet shal he nat oonly bisie hym in kepynge of his good name. [3035] but he shal also enforcen hym alwey / to do som thyng by which he may renouelle his good name / [3036] for it is writen / þat the olde good loos and good name of a man / is soone goon and passed / whan it is nat newed ne re|nouelled [3037] ¶ And as touchynge / þat ye seyn / ye wole exile youre Aduersaries / [3038] that thynketh me / muchel agayn reson / and out of [folio 171a] mesure / [3039] con|sidered the power þat they han yeue yow vp-on hem self ‖. [3040] And it is writen þat he is worthy / to lesen his priuilege / þat mysuseth / the myght and the power þat is yeuen hym [3041] ¶ And I sette cas / ye myghte enioyne hem þat peyne by right and by lawe / [3042] which I

Page 474

Scan of Page  474
View Page 474

[6-text p 251] trowe / ye mowe nat do /. [3043] I seye ye mighte nat putten it to execucion per-auenture / [3044] and thanne were it likly to retourne to the werre as it was biforn / [3045] And therfore / if ye wole þat men do yow obeis|ance / ye moste deemen moore curteisly / [3046] this is to seyn / ye moste yeuen moore esy sentences and Iuggementz [3047] ¶ ffor it is writen / þat he þat moost curteisly comandeth / to hym men moost obeyen / [3048] And ther|fore I prey yow þat in this necessitee / and in this nede / ye caste yow to ouercome youre herte [3049] ¶ ffor Senec [¶ Seneca] seith /. That he þat ouercometh his herte / ouercomeþ twies [3050] ¶ And Tullius seith ¶ Ther is no thyng so [¶ Tullius] comendable in a greet lord / [3051] as whan he is debon|aire and meeke / and appeseth lightly / [3052] And I. prey yow þat ye wole forbere now to do vengeance [3053] in swich a manere / þat youre goode name may be kept and conserued / [3054] and þat men mowe haue cause and mateere / to preyse yow of pitee and of mercy / [3055] and þat ye haue no cause to repente yow of thyng þat ye doon [3056] ¶ ffor Senec seith ¶ He ouercometh in an yuel [¶ Seneca] manere þat repenteth hym of his victorie / [3057] Wher|fore I pray yow / lat mercy been in youre mynde and in youre herte / [3058] to theffect and entente þat god almyghty haue mercy on yow in his laste Iuggement; [3059] ¶ ffor seint Iame seith in his Epistle ¶ Iuggement with|outen [¶ Iacobus in epistola] mercy shal be doon to hym / þat hath no mercy of another wight

[3060] Whanne Melibee hadde herd the grete skiles [¶ Melibee] and resons of Dame Prudence / and hire wise informacions and techynges / [3061] his herte gan enclyne to the wil of his wif considerynge hir trewe entente / [3062] and con|formed hym anon and assented fully to werken after hir conseil / [3063] and thonked god / of whom procedeþ al vertu and alle goodnesse / þat hym sente a wyf / of so greet discrecion [3064] And whan the day cam þat hise Aduer|saries sholde appieren in his presence / [3065] he spak vn|to

Page 475

Scan of Page  475
View Page 475

[6-text p 252] hem ful goodly / and seyde in this wyse [3066] ¶ Al be it so / þat of youre pride / and presumpcion and folie / and of youre necligence and vnkonnynge / [3067] ye haue mysborn yow and trespassed vn-to me. [3068] yet for as muche / as I see and biholde youre grete humylitee / [3069] and þat ye been sory and repentant of youre giltes / [3070] it constreyneth me / to doon yow grace and mercy [3071] ¶ Therfore / I receyue yow / to my grace [3072] and foryeue yow outrely alle the offenses / Iniuries and wronges þat ye haue doon agayn me and myne / [3073] to this effect and to this ende / that god of his endelees mercy [3074] wole at the tyme of oure diynge foryeuen vs oure giltes that we han trespassed to hym in this wrecched world / [3075] ffor doutelees / if we be sory and repentant of the synnes and giltes whiche we han trespassed in the sighte of oure lord god / [3076] he is so free and so merci|able / [3077] that he wole foryeuen vs oure giltes [3078] and bryngen vs to his blisse / that neuere hath ende. Amen

¶ Heere is ended Chaucers tale of Melibee / and of Dame Prudence .

Page 476

Scan of Page  476
View Page 476
[6-text p 253]
¶ The murye wordes of the Hoost/ to the Monk/ . [on leaf 172]
Whan ended / was my tale / of Melibee Line 3079 And of Prudence / and hire benignytee Oure hoost seyde / as I am feithful man And by that precious corpus Madrian I hadde leuere / than a barel ale That good lief my wyf / hadde herd this tale Line 3084 She nys no thyng / of swich pacience As was this Melibeus wyf Prudence By goddes bones / whan I bete my knaues She bryngeth me forth / the grete clobbed staues Line 3088 And crieth / slee the dogges euerichoon And brek/ hem / bothe bak and euery boon ¶ And if that any neighebore of myne Wol nat in chirche / to my wyf enclyne Line 3092 Or be so hardy / to hire to trespace Whan she comth [home] / she rampeth in my face And crieth / false coward / wrek thy wyf/ By corpus bones / I wol haue thy knyf/ Line 3096 And thou shalt haue my distaf and go spynne ffro day to nyght / right thus she wol bigynne Allas she seith / that euere þat I was shape To wedden a Milksope / or a coward ape Line 3100 That wol been ouerlad with euery wight Thou darst nat stonden by thy wyues right ¶ This is my lif but if that I wol fighte And out at dore / anon I moot me dighte Line 3104 Or elles I am but lost but if that I Be lik a wilde leon fool-hardy I woot wel / she wol do me slee som day Som neighebore / and thanne go my way Line 3108 ffor I am perilous / with knyf in honde Al be it that I dar hire nat withstonde

Page 477

Scan of Page  477
View Page 477
[6-text p 254] ffor she is / byg in Armes by my feith That shal he fynde / þat hire mysdooth or seith Line 3112 But lat vs passe awey / fro this mateere ¶ My lord the Monk quod he / be myrie of cheere ffor ye shul telle a tale trewely Loo Rouchestre / stant heer faste by Line 3116 Ryde forth myn owene lord / brek nat oure game But by my trouthe / I knowe nat youre name Wher shal I calle yow / my lord daun Iohn Or daun Thomas / or elles daun Albon Line 3120 Of what hous be ye / by youre fader kyn I vowe to god / thou hast a ful fair skyn It is a gentil pasture / ther thow goost [folio 172b] Thou art nat lyk a penant or a goost Line 3124 Vpon my feith / thou art som Officer Som worthy sexteyn / or som Celerer ffor by my fader soule / as to my doom Thou art a maister / whan thou art at hoom Line 3128 No poure cloystrer/ ne no Novys But a gouernour / wily and wys And therwith-al / of brawnes and of bones A wel farynge persone / for the nones Line 3132 I pray to god / yeue hym confusioun That first thee broghte / vn-to Religioun Thou woldest han been / a tredefowel aright Haddestow / as greet a leeue / as thou hast myght Line 3136 To parfourne al thy lust/ in engendrure Thou haddest bigeten / ful many a creature Allas / why werestow / so wyd a Cope God yeue me sorwe / but and I were a pope Line 3140 Nat oonly thou / but euery myghty man Though he were shorn / ful hye vpon his pan Sholde haue a wyf / for al the world is lorn Religioun / hath take vp al the corn Line 3144 Of tredyng. and we borel men been shrympes Of fieble trees / ther comen wrecched ympes

Page 478

Scan of Page  478
View Page 478
[6-text p 255] . . . . . . . . . . [no gap in the MS.] Line 3148 This maketh / that oure wyues wole assaye Religious folk for ye mowe bettre paye Of Venus paiementz / than mowe we God woot no lussheburgh payen ye Line 3152 But be nat wrooth / my lord for þat I pleye fful ofte in game / a sooth I haue herd seye ¶ This worthy Monk / took al in pacience And seyde I wol doon al my diligence Line 3156 As fer as sowneth / in-to honestee To telle yow a tale / or two / or three And if yow list to herkne hyderward I wol [yow] seyn the lyf / of seint Edward Line 3160 Or ellis / first Tragedies wol I telle Of whiche /I/ haue an hundred in my Celle ¶ Tragedie is to seyn / a certeyn storie As olde bookes / maken vs memorie Line 3164 Of hym / that stood / in greet prosperitee And is yfallen / out of heigh degree In to myserie / and endeth wrecchedly And they ben versified communely Line 3168 Of .vj. feet. which men clepen Exametron In prose eek / been endited many oon And eek in meetre / in many a sondry wyse Lo / this declaryng oghte ynogh suffise Line 3172 Now herkneth / if yow liketh for to heere [folio 173a] But first / I yow biseeke / in this mateere Though I by ordre / telle nat thise thynges Be it of Popes / Emperours / or kynges Line 3176 After hir ages / as men writen fynde But tellen hem / som bifore and som bihynde As it now comth / vn-to my remembraunce Haue me excused of min ignoraunce Line 3180
¶ Explicit

Page 479

Scan of Page  479
View Page 479
[6-text p 256]

¶ Heere bigynneth / the Monkes tale / de casibus virorum Illustrium. [on leaf 173]

Iwol biwaille / in manere of Tragedie [[Painting of the Monk and two dogs]] The harm of hem / that stoode in heigh degree And fillen so / that ther nas no remedie To brynge hem / out of hir aduersitee Line 3184 ffor certein / whan þat ffortune list to flee Ther may no man / the cours of hire withholde Lat no man truste / on blynd prosperitee Be war of thise ensamples / trewe and olde Line 3188
AT lucifer / though / he an Angel were [¶ Lucifer] And nat a man / at hym wol I bigynne ffor though ffortune / may noon Angel dere ffrom heigh degree / yet fel he for his synne Line 3192 Doun in to helle / where he yet is Inne O Lucifer/ brightest . of Angels alle Now artow sathanas / þat mayst nat twynne Out of miserie / in which þat thou art falle Line 3196
Loo Adam / in the feeld of Damyssene [¶ Adam] With goddes owene fynger/ wroght was he And nat bigeten / of mannes sperme vnclene And welte all Paradys / sauynge o tree Line 3200 Hadde neuere worldly man so heigh degree As Adam / til he for mysgouernance Was dryuen / out of hys hye prosperitee To labour and to helle / and to meschance Line 3204

Page 480

Scan of Page  480
View Page 480
[6-text p 257]
Loo Sampson / which that was Annunciat [¶ Sampson] By Angel / longe er his Natiuitee And was / to god almyghty consecrat And stood in noblesse / whil he myghte see Line 3208 Was neuere / swich another as was hee To speke of strengthe / and ther-with hardynesse But to hise wyues / toolde he his secree Line 3211 Thurgh which / he slow hym self / for wrecchednesse
Sampson / this noble almyghty Champion [folio 173b] With-outen wepene / saue his handes tweyne He slow / and al torente the leon Toward his weddyng walkynge by the weye Line 3216 His false wyf / koude hym so plese and preye Til she his conseil knew / and she vntrewe Vn-to hise foos / his conseil gan biwreye And hym forsook. and took another newe Line 3220
Thre hundred foxes / took Sampson for Ire And alle hir tayles / he togydre bond And sette the foxes tayles / alle on fire ffor he / on euery tayl / had knyt a brond Line 3224 And they brende / alle the cornes in that lond And alle hire Olyueres / and vynes eke A thousand men / he slow eek with his hond And hadde no wepene / but an Asses cheke Line 3228
Whan they were slayn / so thursted hym / that he Was wel ny lorn / for which he gan to preye That god wolde / on his peyne han som pitee And sende hym drynke / or elles moste he deye Line 3232 And of this asses cheke / that was dreye Out of a wang tooth / sprang anon a welle Of which he drank anon / shortly to seye Thus heelpe hym god / as Iudicum can telle Line 3236

Page 481

Scan of Page  481
View Page 481
[6-text p 258] Line 3236
By verray force / at Gazan / on a nyght Maugree Philistiens of that Citee The gates of the toun / he hath vp plyght And on his bak. ycaryed hem hath hee Line 3240 Hye on an hill / þat men myghte hem see O noble almyghty Sampson / lief and deere Had thou nat toold / to wommen thy secree In all this world / ne hadde been thy peere Line 3244
This Sampson / neuere Ciser drank ne wyn Ne on his heed / cam rasour noon ne sheere By precept of the Messager diuyn ffor alle hise strengthes / in hise heeres weere Line 3248 And fully twenty wynter yeer by yeere He / hadde of Israel the gouernance But soone / shal he wepe many a teere ffor wommen / shal hym bryngen to meschance Line 3252
Vn-to his lemman Dalida he tolde That in hise heeris / al his strengthe lay And falsly to hise foomen / she hym solde ¶ And slepynge in hir barm / vp-on a day [folio 174a] Line 3256 She made to clippe / or shere / hise heres away And made hise foomen / al this craft espyen And whan þat they / hym foond in this array They bounde hym faste / and putten out hise eyen Line 3260
But er his heer/ were clipped or yshaue Ther was no boond / with which men myghte him bynde But now is he / in prison in a Caue Where as they made hym / at the Queerne grynde Line 3264 O noble Sampson / strongest of mankynde O whilom / Iuge in glorie and in richesse Now maystow wepen / with thyne eyen blynde Sith thou fro wele / art falle in wrecchednesse Line 3268

Page 482

Scan of Page  482
View Page 482
[6-text p 259] Line 3268
The ende of this caytyf was as I shal seye Hise foomen / made a feeste vp-on a day And made hym as a fool / biforn hem pleye And this was / in a temple of greet array Line 3272 But atte laste / he made a foul affray ffor he / the pilers shook / and made hem falle And doun fil Temple and al / and ther it lay And slow hym self / and eek his foomen alle Line 3276
This is to seyn the Prynces euerichoon And eek / thre thousand bodyes were ther slayn With fallynge / of the grete Temple of stoon Of Sampson / now wol I na moore sayn Line 3280 Beth war / by this ensample oold and playn That no men / telle hir conseil til hir wyues Of swich thyng as they wolde han secree fayn If þat it touche / hir lymes or hir lyues Line 3284
Off Hercules / the souereyn Conquerour [¶ Hercules] Syngen hise werkes / laude and heigh renoun ffor in his tyme / of strengthe he was the flour He slow / and rafte the skyn of the leoun Line 3288 He of Centauros / leyde the boost adoun He Arpies slow / the crueel bryddes felle He golden Apples / refte of the dragoun He drow out Cerberus / the hound of helle Line 3292
He slow the crueel tyrant Busirus And made his hors / to frete hym flessh and boon He slow / the firy serpent venymus Of Acheloys hornes two / he brak oon Line 3296 And he slow Cacus / in a Caue of stoon He slow-the geant Antheus the stronge He slow the grisly boor / and that anon [folio 174b] And bar the heuene / on his nekke longe Line 3300

Page 483

Scan of Page  483
View Page 483
[6-text p 260] Line 3300
Was neuere wight sith that this world bigan That slow so manye Monstres / as dide he Thurgh-out this wyde world / his name ran What for his strengthe / and for his heigh bountee Line 3304 And euery Reawme / wente he for to see He was so stroong þat no man myghte hym lette At bothe the worldes endes / seith Trophee [¶ Ille vates Chalde|orum Tropheus] In stide of boundes / he a pileer sette Line 3308
A lemman hadde / this noble Champion That highte Dianira / fressh as May And as thise clerkes / maken mention She hath hym sent. a sherte fressh and gay Line 3312 Allas this sherte / allas and weylaway Euenymed was / so subtilly with-alle That er þat he / had wered it half a day It made his flessh / al from hise bones falle Line 3316
But nathelees / somme clerkes hire excusen By oon þat highte Nessus that it maked Be as be may / I wol hire noght accusen But on his bak this sherte he wered al naked Line 3320 Til þat his flessh / was for the venym blaked And whan he saugh / noon oother remedye In hoote coles / he hath hym seluen raked ffor with no venym deigned hym to dye Line 3324
Thus starf / this worthy / myghty Hercules Lo / who may truste / on ffortune any throwe ffor hym þat folweth / al this world of prees Er he be war / is ofte yleyd ful lowe Line 3328 fful wys is he / that kan hym seluen knowe Beth war / for whan that ffortune list to glose Thanne wayteth she / her man to ouerthrowe By swich a wey / as he wolde leest suppose Line 3332

Page 484

Scan of Page  484
View Page 484
[6-text p 261]
The myghty trone / the precious tresor [¶ Nabugo|donosor] The glorious ceptre / and Roial magestee That hadde the kyng Nabugodonosor With tonge / vnnethe may discryued bee Line 3336 He twyes / wan Ierusalem the Citee The vessel of the temple / he with hym ladde At Babiloigne / was his souereyn see In which his glorie / and his delit he hadde Line 3340
The faireste children / of the blood Roial [folio 175a] Of Israel / he leet do gelde anoon And maked ech of hem / to been his thral Amonges othere / Daniel was oon Line 3344 That was the wiseste child of euerychon ffor he / the dremes of the kyng expowned Where as in Chaldeye / clerk ne was ther noon That wiste / to what fyn / hise dremes sowned Line 3348
This proude kyng leet maken a statue of gold Sixty cubites long and seuene in brede The which ymage / he bothe yonge and oold Comanded to loute / and haue in drede Line 3352 Or in a ffourneys / ful of flambes rede He shal be brent that wolde noght obeye But neuere wolde assente / to that dede Daniel / ne hise yonge felawes tweye Line 3356
This kyng of kynges / proud was and elaat He wende / þat god that sit in magestee Ne myghte / hym nat bireue of his estaat But sodeynly / he loste his dignytee Line 3360 And lyk a beest / hym semed for to bee And eet hey as an Oxe / and lay ther oute In reyn / with wilde beestes walked hee Til certein tyme / was ycome aboute Line 3364

Page 485

Scan of Page  485
View Page 485
[6-text p 262] Line 3364
And lik/ an Egles fetheres / wax his heres Hise nayles / lyk a briddes clawes weere Til god relessed hym / a certeyn yeres And yaf hym wit / and thanne with many a teere Line 3368 He thanked god / and euere his lyf in feere Was he / to doon amys / or moore trespace And til that tyme / he leyd was on his beere He knew / that god was / ful of myght and grace Line 3372
His sone / which that highte Balthasar [¶ Balthasar] That heeld the regne / after his fader day He by his fader / koude noght be war ffor proud he was / of herte and of array Line 3376 And eek / an ydolastre / he was ay His hye estaat assured hym in pryde But ffortune / caste hym doun / and ther he lay And sodeynly / his regne gan diuide Line 3380
A feeste he made / vn-to hise lordes alle Vp-on a tyme / and bad hem blithe bee And thanne / hise Officers gan he calle Gooth bryngeth forth / the vessels quod he [folio 175b] Whiche that my fader / in his prosperitee Line 3385 Out of the temple / of Ierusalem birafte And to oure hye goddes / thanke we Of honour / that oure eldres with us lafte Line 3388
Hys wyf hise lordes / and hise concubynes Ay dronken / whil hire Appetites laste Out of thise noble vessels / sondry wynes And on a wal / this kyng hise eyen caste Line 3392 And saugh an hand Armlees / þat wroot ful fast ffor feere of which / he quook and siked soore This hand / that Balthasar so soore agaste Wroot Mane techel phares / and na moore Line 3396

Page 486

Scan of Page  486
View Page 486
[6-text p 263] Line 3396
In al that land / Magicien was noon That koude expounde / what this lettre mente But Daniel / expowned it anon And seyde kyng god to thy fader sente Line 3400 Glorie and honour / regne / tresour / rente And he was proud / and no-thyng god ne dradde And therfore / god greet wreche vp-on hym sente And hym birafte / the regne þat he hadde Line 3404
He was out cast of mannes compaignye With asses / was his habitacioun And eet hey as a beest in weet and drye Til that he knew / by grace and by resoun Line 3408 That god of heuene / hath domynacioun Ouer euery regne / and euery creature And thanne / hadde god of hym compassioun And hym restored / his regne and his figure Line 3412
Eek / thou that art his sone / art proud also And knowest alle thise thynges verraily And art rebel to god / and art his foo Thou drank eek / of hise vessels boldely Line 3416 Thy wyf eek and thy wenches synfully Dronke of the same vessels / sondry wynys And heryest false goddes cursedly Therfore to thee / yshapen ful greet pyne ys Line 3420
This hand was sent from god / that on the wal Wroot Mane techel phares / truste me Thy regne is doon / thou weyest noght at al Dyuyded is thy regne / and it shal be Line 3424 To Medes and to Perses [yeue] quod he And thilke same nyght this kyng was slawe And Darius / occupieth his degree [folio 176a] Thogh he therto / hadde neither right ne lawe Line 3428

Page 487

Scan of Page  487
View Page 487
[6-text p 264] Line 3428 Lordynges / ensample / heer-by may ye take How that in lordshipe / is no sikernesse ffor whan ffortune wole a man forsake She bereth awey / his regne and his richesse Line 3432 And eek hise freendes / bothe moore and lesse ffor what man / þat hath freendes / thurgh ffortune Mishape / wol maken hem enemys as I gesse This prouerbe / is ful sooth and ful commune Line 3436
CEnobia / of Palymerie Queene [¶ Cenobia] As writen Persiens / of hir noblesse So worthy was in Armes / and so keene That no wight passed hire in hardynesse Line 3440 Ne in lynage / nor in oother gentillesse Of kynges blood of Perce / is she descended I seye nat that she hadde moost fairnesse But of hire shape / she myghte nat been amended Line 3444
ffrom hire childhede / I fynde that she fledde Office of wommen / and to wode she went And many a wilde hertes blood she shedde With arwes brode / that she to hem sente Line 3448 She was so swift / þat she anon hem hente And whan þat she was elder / she wolde kille Leons / leopardes / and Beres al to-rente And in hir Armes / weelde hem at hir wille Line 3452
She dorste / wilde beestes dennes seke And rennen in the montaignes al the nyght And slepen vnder the bussh / and she koude eke Wrastlen / by verray force / and verray myght/ Line 3456 With any yong man / were he neuer so wight Ther myghte no thyng in hir Armes stonde She kepte hir maydenhod / from euery wight To no man / deigned hire for to be bonde Line 3460

Page 488

Scan of Page  488
View Page 488
[6-text p 265] Line 3460
But atte laste / hir freendes han hire maried To Onedake / a Prynce of that contree Al were it so / that she hem longe taried And ye shul vnderstonde / how that he? Line 3464 Hadde swiche fantasies / as hadde she [simul] But nathelees / whan they were knyt infeere They lyued / in ioye / and in felicitee ffor ech of hem / hadde oother lief and deere Line 3468
Saue o thyng that she wolde neuere assente [folio 176b] By no wey / that he sholde by hire lye But ones / for it was hir pleyn entente To haue a child / the world to multiplye Line 3472 And also soone / as þat she myghte espye That she was nat with childe / with that dede Thanne wolde she suffre hym / doon his fantasye Eft soone / and nat but oones out of drede Line 3476
And if she were with childe / at thilke cast Na moore / sholde he pleyen thilke game Til fully / fourty dayes / weren past Thanne wolde she ones / suffre hym do the same Line 3480 Al were this Onedake / wilde or tame He gat na moore of hire / for thus she seyde It was to wyues / lecherie and shame In oother caas / if þat men with hem pleyde Line 3484
Two sones / by Onedake hadde she The whiche she kepte / in vertu and lettrure But now / vn-to oure tale / turne we I seye / so worshipful a creature Line 3488 And wys ther-with / and large with mesure So penyble in the werre / and curteis eke Ne moore labour / myghte in werre endure Was noon / though al this world men wolde seke Line 3492

Page 489

Scan of Page  489
View Page 489
[6-text p 266] Line 3492
Hir riche array / ne myghte nat be told As wel in vessel / as in hire clothyng She was al clad / in perree and in gold And eek / she lafte noght / for noon huntyng Line 3496 To haue of sondry tonges / ful knowyng Whan þat she leyser hadde / and for to entende To lerne bookes / was al hire likyng How she in vertu / myghte hir lyf dispende Line 3500
And shortly / of this proces for to trete So doghty was hir housbonde and eek she That they conquered / manye regnes grete In the Orient with many a faire Citee Line 3504 Apertenaunt vn-to the magestee Of Rome / and with strong hond held hem ful faste Ne neuere myghte / hir foo men doon hem flee Ay / whil that Onedakes dayes laste Line 3508
Hir batailles / who so list hem for to rede Agayn Sapor the kyng and othere mo And how al this proces / fil in dede Why she conquered / and what title therto [folio 177a] Line 3512 And after/ of hir meschief and hire wo How þat she was / biseged and ytake Lat hym / vn-to my maister Petrak go That writ ynough of this .I vndertake Line 3516
Whan Onedake was deed / she myghtily The regnes heeld / and with hire propre hond Agayn hir foos / she faught so cruelly That ther nas kyng ne prynce in al that lond Line 3520 That he nas glad / if he that grace fond That she ne wolde / vp-on his lond werreye With hire / they made alliance by bond To been in pees / and lete hire ride and pleye Line 3524

Page 490

Scan of Page  490
View Page 490
[6-text p 267] Line 3524
The Emperour of Rome Claudius Ne hym bifore / the Romayn Galien Ne dorste neuere / been so corageus Ne noon Ermyn / ne noon Egipcien Line 3528 Ne Surrien / ne noon Arabyen With-Inne the feeldes / that dorste with hire fighte Lest that she wolde / hem with hir handes slen Or with hir meignee / putten hem to flighte Line 3532
In kynges habit / wente hir sones two As heires / of hir fadres regnes alle And hermanno / and Thymalao Hir names were / as Persiens hem calle Line 3536 But ay ffortune / hath in hire hony galle This myghty queene / may no while endure ffortune / out of hir regne made hire falle To wrecchednesse / and to mysauenture Line 3540
Aurelian / whan that the gouernaunce Of Rome / cam in-to hise handes tweye He shoope / vp-on this queene to doon vengeaunce And with hise legions / he took his weye Line 3544 Toward Cenobie / and shortly for to seye He made hire flee / and atte last hire hente And fettred hire / and eek hire children tweye And wan the land / and hoom to Rome he wente Line 3548
Amonges othere thynges / that he wan Hir Chaar/ þat was with gold wroght and perree This grete Romayn / this Aurelian Hath with hym lad / for that men sholde it see Line 3552 Biforn his triumphe / walketh shee With gilte cheynes / on hire nekke hangynge Coroned was she / after hir degree [folio 177b] And ful of perree / charged hire clothynge Line 3556

Page 491

Scan of Page  491
View Page 491
[6-text p 268] , [6-text p 271] Line 3556
Allas ffortune / she that whilom was Dredeful / to kynges and to Emperoures Now gaureth al the peple / on hire allas And she / that helmed was in starke shoures Line 3560 And wan by force / townes stronge and toures Shal on hir heed / now were a vitremyte And she that bar/ the ceptre ful of floures Shal bere a distaf / hire costes for to quyte [[The modern instances which should come here, are at the end of the Tale in this MS.]] Line 3564
Al though / that Nero were vicius [¶ Nero] As any feend that lith in helle adoun Line 3654 Yet he / as telleth vs Swetonius This wyde world / hadde in subieccioun Line 3656 Bothe Est and West North / and Septemtrioun Of Rubies / saphires / and of peerles white Were alle hise clothes / brouded vp and doun ffor he in gemmes / greetly gan delite Line 3660
Moore delicaat moore pompous of array Moore proud / was neuere Emperour than he That ilke clooth / þat he hadde wered o day After that tyme / he nolde it neuere see Line 3664 Nettes of gold threed / hadde he greet plentee To fisshe in Tybre / whan hym liste pleye Hise lustes were al lawe / in his decree ffor ffortune / as his freend / hym wolde obeye Line 3668
He Rome brende / for his delicasie The Senatours / he slow vp-on a day To heere / how men wolde wepe and crie And slow his brother / and by his suster lay Line 3672 His mooder made he / in pitous array ffor he / hire wombe slitte / to biholde Where he conceyued was so weilaway That he so litel / of his mooder tolde Line 3676

Page 492

Scan of Page  492
View Page 492
[6-text p 271] , [6-text p 272] Line 3676
No teere out of hise eyen / for that sighte Ne cam / but seyde / a fair womman was she Greet wonder is / how þat he koude / or myghte Be domesman / of hire dede beautee Line 3680 The wyn to bryngen hym comanded he And drank / anon / noon oother wo he made Whan myght is ioyned vn-to crueltee Allas to depe / wol the venym wade Line 3684
In yowthe / a maister hadde this Emperour [folio 178a] To teche hym lettrure / and curteisye ffor of moralitee / he was the flour As in his tyme / but if bookes lye Line 3688 And whil this maister / hadde of hym maistrye He maked hym / so konnyng and so sowple That longe tyme it was / er tirannye Or any vice / dorste on hym vncowple Line 3692
This Seneca / of which that I deuyse By cause Nero / hadde of hym swich drede ffor he fro vices / wolde hym chastise Discreetly / as by word / and nat by dede Line 3696 Sire wolde he seyn / an Emperour moot nede Be vertuous / and hate tirannye ffor which / he in a bath / made hym to blede On bothe hise Armes / til he moste dye Line 3700
This Nero / hadde eek/ of acustumaunce In youthe / agayns his maister for to ryse Which afterward / hym thoughte greet greuaunce Therfore / he made hym dyen in this wise Line 3704 But nathelees / this Seneca the wise Chees in a Bath to dye / in this manere Rather than han / any oother tormentise And thus hath Nero / slayn his maister deere Line 3708

Page 493

Scan of Page  493
View Page 493
[6-text p 272] , [6-text p 273] Line 3708
Now fil it so / that ffortune liste no lenger The hye pryde of Nero to cherice ffor though þat he was strong yet was she strenger She thoughte thus / by god I am to nyce Line 3712 To sette a man / that is fulfild of vice In heigh degree / and Emperour hym calle By god / out of his sete / I wol hym trice Whan he leest weneth / sonnest shal he falle Line 3716
The peple roos vp-on hym on a nyght ffor his defaute / and whan he it espied Out of hise dores / anon he hath hym dight Allone / and ther he wende han ben allied Line 3720 He knokked faste / and ay the moore he cried The fastere shette they / the dores alle ffor drede of this / hym thoughte þat he dyed And wente his wey / no lenger dorste he calle Line 3724
The peple cride / and rombled vp and doun That with his erys / herde he / how they seyde Where is this false tiraunt this Neroun ffor fere / almoost out of his wit he breyde [folio 178b] And to hise goddes / pitously he preyd ffor socour / but it myghte nat bityde ffor drede of this / hym thoughte þat he deyde And ran in-to a gardyn hym to hyde Line 3732
And in this gardyn / foond he cherles tweye That seten by a fyr / greet and reed And to thise cherles two / he gan to preye To sleen hym / and to girden of his heed Line 3736 That to his body / whan þat he were deed Were no despit ydoon / for his defame Hym self he slow / he koude no bettre reed Of which / ffortune lough / and hadde a game Line 3740

Page 494

Scan of Page  494
View Page 494
[6-text p 273] , [6-text p 274] Line 3740
Was neuere Capitayn / vnder a kyng/ [¶ De Oloferno] That regnes mo / putte in subieccioun Ne strenger was in feeld / of alle thyng As in his tyme / ne gretter of renoun Line 3744 Ne moore pompous / in heigh presumpcioun Than Oloferne / which ffortune ay kiste So likerously / and ladde hym vp and doun Til þat his heed was of / er þat he wiste Line 3748
Nat oonly / that this world / hadde hym in Awe ffor lesynge / of richesse / or libertee But made euery man / reneyen his lawe Nabugodonosor / was god seyde hee Line 3752 Noon oother god / [ne] sholde adoured bee Agayns his heeste / no wight dorste trespace saue in Bethulia / a strong Citee [¶ Et fecerunt filij Israel secundum quod constituerat eis sacerdos domi|ni Eliachim. [t. i. Joacim, Judith iv. 8.]] Where Eliachim / a preest was of that place
But taak kepe of the deeth of Oloferne Amydde his hoost he dronke lay a nyght With-Inne his tente / large as is a berne And yet for al his pompe / and al his myght Line 3760 Iudith a womman / as he lay vpright Slepynge / his heed of smoot and from his tente fful pryuely / she stal from euery wight And with his heed / vn-to hir toun she wente Line 3764
What nedeth it of kyng Anthiochus [¶ De Rege An|thiocho illustri] To telle / his hye Roial magestee His hye pride / hise werkes venymus ffor swich another / was ther noon as he Line 3768 Rede which þat he was / in Machabee And rede / the proude wordes that he seyde And why he fil / fro heigh prosperitee [folio 179a] And in an hill / how wrecchedly he deyde Line 3772

Page 495

Scan of Page  495
View Page 495
[6-text p 274] , [6-text p 275] Line 3772
ffortune / hym hadde enhaunced so in pride That verraily / he wende he myghte attayne Vn-to the sterres / vp-on euery syde And in balance / weyen ech montayne Line 3776 And alle the floodes / of the see restrayne And goddes peple / hadde he moost in hate Hem wolde he sleen / in torment and in payne Wenynge / þat god ne myghte his pride abate Line 3780
And for that Nichanore / and Thymothee Of Iewes / weren venquysshed myghtily Vn-to the Iewes / swich an hate hadde he That he bad / greithen his Chaar ful hastily Line 3784 And swoor / and seyde ful despitously Vn-to Ierusalem / he wolde eft soone To wreken his Ire / on it ful cruelly But of his purpos / he was let ful soone Line 3788
God for his manace / hym so soore smoot With invisible wounde / ay incurable That in hise guttes / carf it so and boot That hise peynes / weren importable Line 3792 And certeinly / the wreche was resonable ffor many a mannes guttes / dide he peyne But from his purpos / cursed and dampnable ffor all his smert he wolde hym nat restreyne Line 3796
But bad anon / apparaillen his hoost And sodeynly / er he was of it war God daunted / al his pride and all his boost ffor he so soore / fil out of his Char [lacerauit/] Line 3800 That it hise lemes / and his skyn to-tar So that he neyther/ myghte go ne ryde But in a chayer / men / aboute hym bar Al forbrused / bothe bak and syde Line 3804

Page 496

Scan of Page  496
View Page 496
[6-text p 275] , [6-text p 276] Line 3804
The wreche of god / hym smoot so cruelly That thurgh his body / wikked wormes crepte And ther-with-al / he stank horriblely That noon of al his meynee / þat hym kepte Line 3808 Wheither so he wook or ellis slepte Ne myghte noght for stynk of hym endure In this meschief / he wayled and eek wepte And knew god / lord of euery creature Line 3812
To all his hoost and to hym self also [folio 179b] fful wlatsom was / the stynk of his careyne No man / ne myghte hym bere / to ne fro And in this stynk and this horrible peyne Line 3816 He starf ful wrecchedly / in a Monteyne Thus hath this Robbour / and this homycide That many a man / made to wepe and pleyne Swich gerdon / as bilongeth vn-to pryde Line 3820
[Alexander the Great.]
The storie of Alisaundre / is so commune [¶ De Alex|andro] That euery wight that hath discrecioun Hath herd somwhat or al / of his ffortune This wyde world / as in conclusioun Line 3824 He wan by strengthe / or for his hye renoun They weren glad / for pees vn-to hym sende The pride / of man and beest / he leyde adoun Wher so he cam / vn-to the worldes ende Line 3828
Comparison / myghte neuere yet been maked Bitwixen hym / and another Conquerour ffor al this world / for drede of hym hath quaked He [was] of knyghthod and of fredom flour Line 3832 ffortune hym made / the heir of hire honour Saue wyn and wommen / no man mighte aswage His hye entente in Armes and labour So was he ful / of leonyn corage Line 3836

Page 497

Scan of Page  497
View Page 497
[6-text p 276] , [6-text p 277] Line 3836
What pris were it to hym / though I yow tolde Of Darius / and an hundred thousand mo Of kynges / princes / Erles / dukes / bolde Whiche he conquered / and broghte hem in-to wo Line 3840 I seye / as fer as man may ryde or go The world was his / what sholde I moore deuyse ffor though I write / or tolde yow eueremo Of his knyghthode / it myghte nat suffise Line 3844
Twelf yeer he regned / as seith Machabee Philippes sone of Macidoyne he was That first was kyng in Grece the contree O worthy gentil Alisandre allas Line 3848 That euere sholde fallen swich a cas Empoysoned / of thyn owene folk thou weere Thy sys / ffortune / hath turned in-to Aas And [yet] for thee / ne weepe she neuer a teere Line 3852
Who shal me yeuen teeris to compleyne The deeth of gentillesse / and of ffranchise That al the world / weelded in his demeyne And yet hym thoughte / it myghte nat suffise [folio 180a] Line 3856 So ful was his corage / of heigh emprise Allas / who shal me helpe to endite ffalse ffortune / and poyson to despise The whiche two / of al this wo I wyte Line 3860
[Julius Cæsar.]
By wisedom / manhede / and by labour [¶ De Iulio Cesare] ffrom humble bed / to roial magestee Vp roos he Iulius the Conquerour That wan al thoccident by land and See Line 3864 By strengthe of hand / or elles by tretee And vn-to Rome / made hem tributarie And sitthe of Rome / the Emperour was he Til that ffortune / weex his Aduersarie Line 3868

Page 498

Scan of Page  498
View Page 498
[6-text p 277] , [6-text p 278] Line 3868
O myghty Cesar / that in Thessalie Agayn Pompeus / fader thyn in lawe That of the Orient hadde all the Chiualrie As fer/ as þat the day bigynneth dawe Line 3872 Thou thurgh thy knyghthod / hast hem take and slawe Saue fewe folk / that with Pompeus fledde Thurgh which thou puttest al thorient in Awe Thanke ffortune / that so wel thee spedde Line 3876
¶ But now a litel while / I wol biwaille [¶ Nota de Pompeyo] This Pompeus / this noble gouernour Of Rome / which that fleigh at this bataille I seye / oon of hise men / a fals traitour Line 3880 His heed of smoot to wynnen hym fauour Of Iulius / and hym the heed he broghte Allas Pompeye / of Thorient Conquerour That ffortune / vn-to swich a fyn thee broghte Line 3884
¶ To Rome agayn / repaireth Iulius With his triumphe / lauriat ful hye But on a tyme / Brutus Cassius That euere hadde / of his hye estaat envye Line 3888 fful priuely / hath maad conspiracye Agayns this Iulius / in subtil wise And caste the place / in which he sholde dye With Boydekyns / as I shal yow deuyse Line 3892
This Iulius / to the Capitolie wente Vpon a day / as he was wont to goon And in the Capitolie / anon hym hente This false Brutus / and hise othere foon Line 3896 And stiked hym / with boydekyns anoon With many a wounde / and thus they lete hym lye But neuere gronte he / at no strook but oon [folio 180b] Or elles at two / but if his storie lye Line 3900

Page 499

Scan of Page  499
View Page 499
[6-text p 278] , [6-text p 279] Line 3900
So manly / was this Iulius of herte And so wel louede / estaatly honestee That though hise deedly woundes soore smerte His Mantel / ouer hise hypes caste he Line 3904 ffor no man / sholde seen his priuetee And as he lay / of diyng in a traunce And wiste verraily / that deed was hee Of honestee / yet hadde he remembraunce Line 3908
Lucan / to thee / this storie I recomende And to Sweton / and to Valerius also That of this storie / writen word and ende How þat / to thise grete Conquerours two Line 3912 ffortune was first freend / and sitthe foo No man ne truste / vp-on hire fauour longe But haue hire / in awayt for euere moo Witnesse / on alle thise Conquerours stronge Line 3916
This riche Cresus / whilom kyng of Lyde [¶ Cresus] Of which Cresus / Cirus soore hym dradde Yet was he caught/ amyddes al his pryde And to be brent/ men to the fyr hym ladde Line 3920 But swich a reyn / doun fro the welkne shadde That slow the fyr / and made hym to escape But to be war / no grace yet he hadde Til ffortune / on the galwes / made hym gape Line 3924
Whanne he escaped was / he kan nat stente ffor to bigynne / a newe werre agayn He wende wel / for þat ffortune hym sente Swich hape / that he escaped thurgh the rayn Line 3928 That of hise foos / he myghte nat be slayn And eek a sweuene / vp-on a nyght he mette Of which / he was so proud / and eek so fayn That in vengeance / he al his herte sette Line 3932

Page 500

Scan of Page  500
View Page 500
[6-text p 279] , [6-text p 280] , [6-text p 268] Line 3932
Vp-on a tree / he was / as that hym thoughte Ther Iuppiter hym wesshe / bothe bak and syde And Phebus eek a fair towaille hym broughte To dryen hym with / and therfore wax his pryde Line 3936 And to his doghter / that stood hym bisyde Which þat he knew / in heigh science habounde He bad hire telle hym / what it signyfyde And she his dreem / bigan right thus expounde Line 3940
The tree quod she / the galwes is to meene [folio 181a] And Iuppiter / bitokneth snow and reyn And Phebus / with his towaille so clene Tho been / the sonne bemes for to seyn Line 3944 Thou shalt anhanged be / fader certeyn Reyn shal thee wasshe / and sonne shal thee drye Thus warned hym / ful plat and ful pleyn His doghter / which that called was Phanye Line 3948
An-hanged was Cresus / the proude kyng His roial Trone / myghte hym nat auaille Tragedies / noon oother maner thyng / Ne kan in syngyng crie ne biwaille Line 3952 But that ffortune / alwey wole assaille With vnwar strook / the Regnes þat been proude ffor whan men trusteth hire / thanne wol she faille And couere hire brighte face / with a clowde [[These 4 modern instances should follow Zenobia, p. 268.]] Line 3956
[Peter the Cruel, of Spain.]
Onoble / o. worthy Petro / glorie of Spayne [¶ De Petro Rege Is|pannie] Whom ffortune heeld / so hye in magestee Wel oghten men / thy pitous deeth complayne Out of thy land / thy brother made thee flee Line 3568 And after/ at a seege by subtiltee Thou were bitraysed / and lad vn-to his tente Where as he / with his owene hand slow thee Succedynge / in thy regne and in thy rente Line 3572

Page 501

Scan of Page  501
View Page 501
[6-text p 268] , [6-text p 269] Line 3572
The feeld of snow / with thegle of blak ther-Inne [[Bertrand du Guesclin.]] Caught with the lymerod / coloured as the gleede He brew this cursednesse / and al this synne The wikked nest was werker of this nede Line 3576 Noght Charles Olyuver / that took ay heede Of trouthe and honour / but of Armorike [[Oliver de Mauny of Britanny.]] Genylon Olyuer / corrupt for meede Broghte this worthy kyng in swich a brike Line 3580
[Peter of Cyprus.]
Oworthy Petro / kyng of Cipre also [¶ De Petro Rege de Cipro] That Alisandre wan / by heigh maistrie fful many an hethen / wroghtestow ful wo Of which / thyne owene liges hadde envie Line 3584 And for no thyng but for thy Chiualrie They in thy bed / han slayn thee by the morwe Thus kan ffortune / hir wheel gouerne and gye And out of Ioye / brynge men to sorwe Line 3588
[Bernabo Visconti, of Milan.]
Off Melan / grete Barnabo Viscounte [¶ De Barnabo de Lumbardia] God of delit. and scourge of Lumbardye Why sholde I nat thyn Infortune acounte Sith in estaat / thow cloumbe were so hye [folio 181b] Thy brother sone / that was thy double allye ffor he thy Nevew was / and sone in lawe With-Inne his prison / made thee to dye But why ne how / noot I þat thou were slawe Line 3596
[Ugolino, Count of Pisa.]
Off the Erl Hugelyn of Pyze / the langour [¶ De Huge|lino Comite de Pize] Ther may no tonge / telle for pitee But litel out of Pize / stant a tour In which tour/ in prison put was he Line 3600 And with hym / been hise litel children thre The eldeste / scarsly / fyf yeer was of Age Allas ffortune / it was greet crueltee Swiche briddes / for to putte / in swiche a Cage Line 3604

Page 502

Scan of Page  502
View Page 502
[6-text p 269] , [6-text p 270] Line 3604
Dampned was he / to dyen in that prison ffor Roger / which þat Bisshope was of Pize Hadde on hym maad / a fals suggestion Thurgh which / the peple / gan vpon hym rise Line 3608 And putten hym to prison / in swich wise As ye han herd / and mete / and drynke he hadde So smal / that vnnethe it may suffise And therwith-al / it was ful poure and badde Line 3612
And on a day / bifil / þat in that hour Whan þat his mete / wont was to be broght The Gayler shette the dores of the tour He herde it wel / but he spak right noght Line 3616 And in his herte / anon ther fil a thoght/ That they for hunger / wolde doon hym dyen Allas quod he / allas that I was wroght Ther-with / the teeris fillen from hise eyen Line 3620
His yonge sone / that thre yeer was of age Vn-to hym seyde / fader / fader // why do ye wepe Whanne wol the Gayler / bryngen oure potage Is ther no morsel breed / that ye do kepe Line 3624 I am so hungry / that I may nat slepe Now wolde god / that I myghte slepen euere Thanne sholde nat hunger / in my wombe crepe Ther is no thyng but breed / that me were leuere Line 3628
Thus day by day / this child bigan to crye Til in his fadres barm / adoun it lay And seyde / fare wel fader / I moot dye And kiste his fader/ and dyde the same day Line 3632 And whan the woful fader/ deed it say ffor wo / hise Armes two / he gan to byte And seyde / Allas ffortune and weylaway [folio 182a] Thy false wheel / my wo al may I wyte Line 3636

Page 503

Scan of Page  503
View Page 503
[6-text p 270] Line 3636
Hise children wende / that it for hunger was That he hise Armes gnow / and nat for wo And seyde fader/ do nat so Allas But rather ete the flessh vp-on vs two Line 3640 Oure flessh thou yaf /. take oure flessh vs fro And ete ynogh / right thus they to hym seyde And after that with-Inne a day or two They leyde hem / in his lappe adoun and deyde Line 3644
Hym-self despeired / eek for hunger starf Thus ended is / this myghty Erl of Pize ffrom heigh estaat ffortune awey hym carf Of this Tragedie / it oghte ynough suffise Line 3648 Who so wol here it in a lenger wise Redeth / the grete Poete of ytaille That highte Dant. for he kan al deuyse ffro point to point. nat o word wol he faille Line 3652
¶ Heere stynteth the Knyght the Monk of his tale. .
¶ Explicit Tragedia

Page 504

Scan of Page  504
View Page 504
[6-text p 281]

¶ The prologue of the Nonnes preestes tale . [on leaf 182]

Hoo quod the knyght / good sire namoore this That ye han seyd / is right ynough ywis And muchel moore / for litel heuynesse Is right ynough / to muche folk I gesse Line 3960 I seye for me / it is a greet disese Where as men han been / in greet welthe and ese To heeren / of hire sodeyn fal allas And the contrarie / is ioye and greet solas Line 3964 As whan a man / hath ben in poure estaat And clymbeth vp / and wexeth fortunat And there abideth / in prosperitee Swich thyng is gladsom / as it thynketh me Line 3968 And of swich thyng. were goodly for to telle Ye quod oure hoost by seint Poules belle ye seye right sooth this Monk / he clappeth lowde He spak. how ffortune / couered with a clowde Line 3972 ¶ I noot neuere what/ and also of a Tragedie [folio 182b] Right now ye herde / and pardee no remedie It is / for to biwaille / ne compleyne That þat is doon / and als it is a peyne Line 3976 As ye han seyd / to heere of heuynesse ¶ Sire monk. namoore of this / so god yow blesse Youre tale / anoyeth all this compaignye Swich talkyng is nat worth a boterflye Line 3980 ffor ther-Inne is ther/ no desport ne game ¶ Wherfore sire Monk daun Piers by youre name I pray yow hertely / telle vs somwhat elles ffor sikerly nere clynkyng of youre belles Line 3984

Page 505

Scan of Page  505
View Page 505
[6-text p 282] Line 3984 That on youre bridel hange / on euery syde By heuene kyng. that for vs alle dyde I sholde er this / han fallen doun for sleepe Al-thogh the slough / had neuer been so deepe Line 3988 Thanne hadde your tale / al be toold in veyn ffor certeinly / as that thise clerkes seyn Where as a man / may haue noon Audience Noght helpeth it to tellen his sentence Line 3992 And wel I woot the substance is in me If any thyng shal wel reported be Sir / sey somwhat of huntyng I yow preye ¶ Nay quod this Monk/ I haue no lust to pleye Line 3996 Now lat another telle / as I haue toold Thanne spak oure hoost with rude speche and boold And seyde / vn-to the Nonnes preest anon Com neer thou preest. com hyder thou sir Iohn Line 4000 Telle vs swich thyng as may oure hertes glade Be blithe / though thou ryde vp-on a Iade What thogh thyn hors / be bothe foule and lene If he wol serue thee / rekke nat a bene Line 4004 Looke / that thyn herte / be murie eueremo ¶ Yis sir quod he / yis hoost so moot I go But I be myrie / ywis I wol be blamed And right anon / his tale he hath attamed Line 4008 And thus he seyde / vn-to vs euerichon This sweete preest. this goodly man sir Iohn [[8 lines blank in the MS.]]
¶ Explicit

Page 506

Scan of Page  506
View Page 506
[6-text p 283]

¶ Heere bigynneth / the Nonnes Preestes tale of [folio 183a] the Cok and Hen Chauntecleer and Pertelote

A poure wydwe / somdel stape in Age Was whilom dwellyng. in a narwe cotage Line 4012 Beside a greue / stondynge in a dale This wydwe / of which I telle yow my tale Syn thilke day / that she was last a wyf/ [[Painting of the Nun's Priest]] In pacience / ladde a ful symple lyf/ Line 4016 ffor litel / was hir catel and hir rente By housbondrie / of swich as god hire sente She foond hir self / and eek hire doghtren two Thre large sowes / hadde she and namo Line 4020 Three keen / and eek a sheep þat highte Malle fful sooty / was hir bour/ and eek hire halle In which she eet ful many a sklendre Meel Of poynaunt sauce / hir neded neuer a deel Line 4024 No deyntee morsel / passed thurgh hir throte Hir diete / was accordant to hir Cote Repleccion / ne made hire neuere sik / Attempree diete / was al hir phisik / Line 4028 And exercise / and hertes suffisaunce The goute / lette hire no-thyng for to daunce Napoplexie / shente nat hir heed No wyn ne drank / she / neither whit ne reed Line 4032 Hir bord was serued moost with whit and blak Milk and broun breed / in which she foond no lak Seynd Bacon / and somtyme an Ey or tweye ffor she was / as it were / a maner deye Line 4036 ¶ A yeerd she hadde / enclosed al aboute With stikkes / and a drye dych with-oute In which / she hadde a Cok heet Chauntecleer In al the land / of crowyng nas his peer Line 4040

Page 507

Scan of Page  507
View Page 507
[6-text p 284] Line 4040 His voys was murier/ than the murie Orgon On Messedayes / that in the chirche gon Wel sikerer/ was his crowyng in his logge Than is a Clokke / or an abbey Orlogge Line 4044 By nature / he crew eche Ascencioun Of the equynoxial in thilke toun ffor whan degrees fiftene weren ascended Thanne crew he / that it myghte nat been amended Line 4048 His Coomb was redder / than the fyn coral And batailled / as it were a Castel wal His byle was blak and as the Ieet it shoon Lyk Asure / were hise legges and his toon Line 4052 Hise nayles / whiter than the lylye flour And lyk the burned gold / was his colour This gentil Cok. hadde in his gouernaunce [folio 183b] Seuene hennes / for to doon al his plesaunce Line 4056 Whiche were / hise sustres and his paramours And wonder lyk to hym / as of colours Of whiche / the faireste hewed / on hir throte Was cleped / faire damoysele Pertelote Line 4060 Curteys she was / discreet and debonaire And compaignable / and bar hyr self so faire Syn thilke day / þat she was seuen nyght oold That trewely / she hath the herte in hoold Line 4064 Of Chauntecleer / loken in euery lith He loued hire so / þat wel was hym therwith But swiche a ioye was it to here hem synge Whan þat / the brighte sonne / bigan to sprynge Line 4068 In sweete accord / My lief is faren in londe ffor thilke tyme / as I haue vnderstonde Beestes and briddes / koude speke and synge ¶ And so bifel / that in the dawenynge Line 4072 As Chauntecleer / among hise wyues alle Sat on his perche / that was in the halle And next hym / sat this faire Pertelote This Chauntecleer / gan gronen in his throte Line 4076

Page 508

Scan of Page  508
View Page 508
[6-text p 285] Line 4076 As man þat in his dreem / is drecched soore ¶ And whan that Pertelote / thus herde hym roore She was agast and seyde o herte deere What eyleth yow / to grone in this manere Line 4080 Ye been a verray sleper / fy for shame ¶ And he answerde / and seyde thus? / madame I pray yow / that ye take it nat agrief By god me thoughte / I was in swich meschief Line 4084 Right now / þat yet myn herte is soore afright Now god quod he / my sweuene recche aright And kepe my body / out of foul prisoun Me mette / how that I romed vp and doun Line 4088 With-Inne our yeerd / wheer as I saugh a beest Was lyk an hound / and wolde han maad areest Vpon my body / and han had me deed His colour/ was bitwixe yelow and reed Line 4092 And tipped was his tayl / and bothe hise eeris With blak / vnlyk the remenant of hise heeris His snowte smal / with glowynge eyen tweye Yet of his look. for feere almoost I deye Line 4096 This caused me / my gronyng doutelees ¶ Avoy quod she / fy on yow hertelees Allas quod she / for by that god aboue Now han ye lost myn herte and al my loue Line 4100 I kan nat loue a Coward / by my feith ffor certes / what so any womman seith We alle desiren / if it myghte bee [folio 184a] To han housbondes / hardy wise and free Line 4104 And secree / and no Nygard / ne no fool Ne hym / þat is agast of euery tool Ne noon auauntour / by that god aboue How dorste ye seyn for shame / vn-to youre loue Line 4108 That any thyng myghte make yow aferd Haue ye no mannes herte / and han a berd ¶ Allas and konne ye been agast of sweuenys No thyng god woot / but vanitee in sweuene is Line 4112

Page 509

Scan of Page  509
View Page 509
[6-text p 286] Line 4112 Sweuenes / engendren of repleccions And ofte of fume / and of compleccions Whan humours / been to habundant in a wight ¶ Certes this dreem / which ye han met to-nyght Line 4116 Cometh / of greet superfluytee Of youre rede Colera pardee Which causeth folk / to dreden in hir dremes Of Arwes / and of fyre with rede lemes Line 4120 Of grete beestes / that they wol hem byte Of contekes and of whelpes / grete and lyte Right as the humour/ of Malencolie Causeth ful many a man / in sleepe to crie Line 4124 ffor feere of blake beres / or boles blake Or elles / blake deueles wole hem take ¶ Of othere humours / koude I telle also That werken many a man / in sleepe ful wo Line 4128 But I wol passe / as lightly as I kan
LO Caton which þat was so wys a man Seyde he nat thus / ne do no fors of dremes ¶ Now sire quod she / whan ye flee fro the bemes Line 4132 ffor goddes loue / as taak som laxatyf Vp peril of my soule / and of my lyf I conseille yow the beste / I. wol nat lye That bothe of Colere / and of Malencolye Line 4136 Ye purge yow / and for ye shal nat tarie Though in this toun / is noon Apothecarie I shal my self. to herbes techen yow That shul been / for youre hele / and for youre prow Line 4140 And in oure yeerd / tho herbes shal I fynde The whiche han / of hire propretee by kynde To purge yow / bynethe and eek aboue fforyet nat this / for goddes owene loue Line 4144 Ye been ful coleryk of compleccion Ware the sonne / in his ascencion Ne fynde yow nat repleet of humours hoote. And if it do / I dar wel leye a grote Line 4148

Page 510

Scan of Page  510
View Page 510
[6-text p 287] Line 4148 That ye shul haue / a ffeuere terciane Or an Agu / that may be youre bane A day or two / ye shul haue digestyues [folio 184b] Of wormes / er ye take youre laxatyues Line 4152 Of lawriol / Centaure / and ffumetere Or elles of Ellebor / that groweth there Of katapuce / or of Gaitrys beryis Of herbe yue growyng in oure yeerd ther mery is Line 4156 Pekke hem vp right as they growe and ete hem yn Be myrie housbonde / for youre fader kyn Dredeth no dreem / I kan sey yow namoore
Madame quod he / graunt mercy of youre loore Line 4160 But nathelees / as touchyng Daun Catoun That hath of wysdom / swich a greet renoun Though that he bad / no dremes for to drede By god / men may / in olde bookes rede Line 4164 Of many a man / moore of Auctorite Than euere Caton was / so moot I thee That al the reuers seyn / of this sentence And han wel founden by experience Line 4168 That dremes / been significacions As wel of Ioye / as of tribulacions That folk enduren / in this lif present Ther nedeth / make of this noon Argument Line 4172 The verray preeue / sheweth it in dede ¶ Oon / of the gretteste Auctour / þat men rede [¶ Nota de Sompnio] Seith thus / þat whilom two felawes wente On pilgrimage / in a ful good entente Line 4176 And happed so / they coomen in a toun Wher as ther was / swich congregacioun Of peple / and eek so streit of herbergage That they ne founde / as muche as o cotage Line 4180 In which they bothe / myghte logged bee Wherfore / they mosten of necessitee As for that nyght departen compaignye And ech of hem / gooth to his hostelrye Line 4184

Page 511

Scan of Page  511
View Page 511
[6-text p 288] Line 4184 And took his loggyng as it wolde falle That oon of hem / was logged in a stalle ffer in a yeerd / with Oxen of the plough That oother man / was logged wel ynough Line 4188 As was his Auenture / or his ffortune That vs gouerneth alle / as in commune ¶ And so bifel / þat longe er it were day [.i. dremed] This man mette in his bed ther as he lay Line 4192 How þat his felawe / gan vp-on hym calle And seyde Allas / for in an Oxes stalle This nyght I shal be mordred / ther I lye Now helpe me deere brother / or I dye Line 4196 In alle haste / com to me he sayde ¶ This man out of his sleepe / for feere abrayde But whan that he was wakened / of his sleepe [folio 185a] He turned hym / and took of it no keepe Line 4200 Hym thoughte / his dreem nas but a vanitee Thus twies / in his slepyng dremed hee And atte thridde tyme / yet his felawe Cam as hym thoughte / and seide .I am now slawe Line 4204 Bihoold my bloody woundes depe and wyde Arys vp erly / in the morwe tyde And at the West gate / of the toun quod he A Carte / ful of donge / ther shaltow se Line 4208 In Which / my body is hid / ful priuely Do thilke Carte / arresten boldely My gold caused my mordre / sooth to sayn And tolde hym euery point how he was slayn Line 4212 With a ful pitous face / pale of hewe And truste wel / his dreem he foond ful trewe ffor on the morwe / as soone as it was day To his felawes In / he took the way Line 4216 And whan þat he cam / to this Oxes stalle After his felawe / he bigan to calle ¶ The hostiler / answerde hym anon And seyde sire / your felawe is agon Line 4220

Page 512

Scan of Page  512
View Page 512
[6-text p 289] Line 4220 As soone as day / he wente out of the toun ¶ This man / gan fallen in suspecioun Remembrynge / on hise dremes / þat he mette And forth he gooth / no lenger wolde he lette Line 4224 Vn-to the westgate of the toun / and fond A dong Carte / as it were to donge lond That was arrayed / in that same wise As ye han herd / the dede man deuyse Line 4228 And with an hardy herte / he gan to crye Vengeance and Iustice / of this felonye My felawe / mordred is / this same nyght And in this Carte / heere he lith gapyng vpright Line 4232 I crye out on the Ministres quod he That sholden kepe / and reulen this Citee Harrow allas / heere lith my felawe slayn What sholde I moore / vn-to this tale sayn Line 4236 The peple out sterte / and caste the Cart to grounde And in the myddel of the dong they founde The dede man / that mordred was al newe
O blisful god / that art so Iust and trewe [¶ Auctor] Lo / howe þat thou biwreyest mordre alway Line 4241 Mordre wol out / that se we day by day Mordre / is so wlatsom / and abhomynable To god / that is so Iust and resonable Line 4244 That he / ne wol nat/ suffre it heled be Though it abyde / a yeer / or two / or thre Mordre wol out this my conclusioun [folio 185b] And right anon / Ministres of that toun Line 4248 Han hent the Carter / and so soore hym pyned And eek the hostiler / so soore engyned That they biknewe / hire wikkednesse anon And were an-hanged / by the nekke bon Line 4252 ¶ Heere may men seen / þat dremes been to drede And certes / in the same book / I rede Right in the nexte Chapitre after this I gabbe nat. so haue I ioye or blis Line 4256

Page 513

Scan of Page  513
View Page 513
[6-text p 290] Line 4256
Two men / that wolde han passed ouer see [¶ Adhuc de sompnio] ffor certeyn cause / in to a fer contree If that the wynd / ne hadde been contrarie That made hem / in a Citee for to tarie Line 4260 That stood ful myrie / vpon an hauen syde But on a day / agayn the euen tyde The wynd gan chaunge / and blew right as hem leste Iolif and glad / they wente vn-to hir reste Line 4264 And casten hem / ful erly for to saille ¶ But herkneth / to that o man / fil a greet meruaille That oon of hem / in slepyng as he lay Hym mette a wonder dreem / agayn the day Line 4268 Him thoughte / a man stood by his beddes syde And hym comanded / þat he sholde abyde And seyde hym thus / if thou tomorwe wende Thow shalt be dreynt my tale is at an ende Line 4272 ¶ He wook / and tolde his felawe what he mette And preyde hym / his viage to lette As for that day / he preyde hym to byde ¶ His felawe / that lay / by his beddes syde Line 4276 Gan for to laughe / and scorned him ful faste No dreem quod he / may so myn herte agaste That I wol lette / for to do my thynges I sette nat a straw / by thy dremynges Line 4280 ffor sweuenes / been but vanytees and Iapes Men dreme al day / of Owles / or of Apes And of many a maze / ther-with-al Men dreme of thyng þat neuere was ne shal Line 4284 But sith I see / that thou wolt heere abyde And thus forslewthen / wilfully thy tyde God woot it reweth me / and haue good day And thus / he took his leue / and wente his way Line 4288 But er þat he hadde / half his cours yseyled Noot I nat why / ne what myschaunce it eyled But casuelly / the shippes botme rente And shipe and man / vnder the water wente Line 4292

Page 514

Scan of Page  514
View Page 514
[6-text p 291] Line 4292 In sighte of othere shippes / it bisyde That with hem seyled / at the same tyde And therfore / faire Pertelote so deere [folio 186a] By swiche ensamples olde / yet maistow leere Line 4296 That no man / sholde been to recchelees Of dremes / for I seye thee doutelees That many a dreem / ful soore is for to drede
LO / in the lyf of seint kenelm / I rede [¶ De sompnio sanc|ti kenelmi] That was kenulphus sone / the noble kyng Of Mertenrike / how kenelm mette a thyng A lite er he was mordred / on a day His mordre / in his Auysion he say Line 4304 His Norice / hym expowned euery deel His sweuene / and bad hym for to kepe hym weel ffor traison / but he nas but .vij. yeer oold And therfore / litel tale hath he toold Line 4308 Of any dreem / so hooly is his herte By god / I hadde leuere than my sherte That ye hadde rad his legende / as haue I. Dame Pertelote / I sey yow trewely Line 4312 Macrobeus / that writ the Avision In Affrike / of the worthy Cipion Affermeth dremes / and seith þat they been Warnynge of thynges / þat men after seen Line 4316 ¶ And forther-moore I pray yow looketh wel [¶ Adhuc de sompnijs] In the olde testament of Daniel If he / heeld dremes any vanitee ¶ Reed eek of Ioseph / and ther shul ye see Line 4320 Wher dremes be somtyme / I sey nat alle Warnynge / of thynges / þat shul after falle ¶ Looke of Egipte / the kyng daun Pharao His Baker / and his Butiller also Line 4324 Wher they ne felte noon effect in dremes Who so wol seken actes / of sondry Remes May rede of dremes / many a wonder thyng ¶ Lo Cresus / which þat was of Lyde kyng Line 4328

Page 515

Scan of Page  515
View Page 515
[6-text p 292] Line 4328 Mette he nat that he sat vp-on a tree Which signified / he sholde anhanged bee ¶ Lo heere Adromacha / Ectores wyf That day / that Ector / sholde lese his lyf Line 4332 She dremed / on the same nyght biforn How þat the lyf of Ector / sholde be lorne If thilke day / he wente in-to bataille She warned hym / but it myghte nat auaille Line 4336 He wente / for to fighte natheles But he was slayn anon of Achilles But thilke tale is al to longe for to telle And eek it is ny day / I may nat dwelle Line 4340 Shortly I seye / as for conclusion That I shal han / of this Avision Aduersitee /. and I seye forthermoor [folio 186b] That I ne telle / of laxatyues no stoor Line 4344 ffor they been venymes / I woot it weel I hem diffye / I loue hem neuer a deel ¶ Now let vs speke of myrthe / and stynte al this Madame Pertelote / so haue I blis Line 4348 Of o thyng god hath sent me large grace ffor whan I se / the beautee of youre face Ye been so scarlet reed / aboute youre eyen It maketh / al my drede for to dyen Line 4352 ffor al so siker / as In principio Mulier est hominis confusio ¶ Madame / the sentence / of this latyn is Womman is mannes Ioye / and al his blis Line 4356 ffor whan I feele a nyght your softe syde Al be it that I may nat on yow ryde ffor þat oure perche / is maad so narwe allas I am so ful of ioye / and of solas Line 4360 That I diffye / bothe sweuene and dreem And with that word / he fly doun fro the beem ffor it was day / and eke hise hennes alle And with a chuk / he gan hem for to calle Line 4364

Page 516

Scan of Page  516
View Page 516
[6-text p 293] Line 4364 ffor he hadde founde a corn / lay in the yerd Real he was / he was namoore aferd And fethered Pertelote / twenty tyme And trad as ofte / er it was pryme Line 4368 He looketh / as it were / a grym leoun And on hise toos / he rometh vp and doun Hym deigned nat to sette his foot to grounde He chukketh / whan he hath a corn yfounde Line 4372 And to hym rennen thanne / hise wyues alle Thus roial / as a prince is in an halle Leue I this Chauntecleer / in his pasture And after / wol I telle / his auenture Line 4376
Whan þat the Monthe / in which the world bigan That highte March / whan god first maked man Was compleet and passed were also Syn March bigan / thritty dayes and two Line 4380 Bifel / that Chauntecleer / in al his pryde Hise seuene wyues / walkynge by his syde Caste vp hise eyen / to the brighte sonne That in the signe of Taurus / hadde yronne Line 4384 Twenty degrees and oon / and som-what moore And knew by kynde / and by noon oother loore That it was Pryme / and crew with blisful steuene The sonne he seyde / is clomben vp on heuene Line 4388 ffourty degrees and oon / and moore ywis Madame Pertelote / my worldes blis Herkneth thise blisful briddes / how they synge [folio 187a] And se / the fresshe floures / how they sprynge Line 4392 fful is myn herte / of reuel and solas But sodeynly / hym fil a sorweful cas ffor euere / the latter ende of ioye is wo God woot þat worldly ioye / is soone ago Line 4396 And if a Rethor / koude faire endite He in a Cronycle saufly myghte it write As for a souereyn notabilitee [¶ Petrus Comestor] Now euery wys man / lat him herkne me Line 4400

Page 517

Scan of Page  517
View Page 517
[6-text p 294] Line 4400 This storie / is al so trewe I vndertake As is the book / of launcelot de lake That wommen holde / in ful greet reuerence Now wol I / come / agayn to my sentence Line 4404
A Colfox / ful of sly Iniquitee That in the groue / hadde wonned yeres three By heigh ymaginacion / forn-cast The same nyght / thurgh-out the hegges brast Line 4408 In-to the yerd / ther Chauntecleer the faire Was wont and eek hise wyues to repaire And in a bed of wortes / stille he lay Til it was passed / vndren of the day Line 4412 Waitynge his tyme / on Chauntecleer to falle As gladly / doon thise homycides alle That in await liggen / to mordre men O false mordrour / lurkynge in thy den Line 4416 O newe Scariot newe Genylon ffalse dissynulour / o greek synon That broghtest Troye / al outrely to sorwe O Chauntecleer / acursed be that morwe Line 4420 That thou in-to that yerd / flaugh fro the bemes Thou were / ful wel ywarned by thy dremes That thilke day / was perilous to thee But what þat god forwoot moot nedes bee Line 4424 After the opinion / of certein clerkis Witnesse on hym / that any parfit clerk is That in scole / is greet altercacion In this mateere / and greet disputison Line 4428 And hath been / of an hundred thousand men But I ne kan nat bulte it to the bren As kan the hooly doctour Augustyn Or Boece / or the Bisshope Bradwardyn Line 4432 Wheither / that goddes / worthy forwityng Streyneth me / nedefully to doon a thyng Nedely / clepe I / symple necessitee Or elles / if free choys be graunted me Line 4436

Page 518

Scan of Page  518
View Page 518
[6-text p 295] Line 4436 To do that same thyng. or do it noght Though god forwoot it er þat it was wroght Or if his wityng. streyneth neuer a deel [folio 187b] But by necessitee condicioneel Line 4440 I wil nat han to do / of swich mateere My tale is of a Cok. as ye may heere That took his conseil / of his wyf with sorwe To walken in the yerd / vpon that morwe Line 4444 That he hadde met that dreem / þat I of tolde Wommennes conseils / been ful ofte colde Wommannes conseil / broghte vs first to wo And made Adam / out of Paradys to go Line 4448 Ther as he was ful myrie / and wel at ese But for I noot to whom it myght displese If I / conseil of wommen wolde blame Passe ouer / for I seye it in my game Line 4452 Rede Auctours / where they trete / of swich mateere And what they seyn of wommen / ye may heere Thise been the Cokkes wordes / and nat myne I kan noon harm / of no womman diuyne Line 4456
Faire in the soond / to bathe hire myrily Lith Pertelote / and alle hire sustres by Agayn the sonne / and Chauntecleer so free Soong murier / than the Mermayde in the see Line 4460 ffor Phisiologus / seith sikerly How þat they syngen / wel and myrily ¶ And so bifel / that as he cast his eye Among the wortes / on a Boterflye Line 4464 He was war of this fox / þat lay ful lowe No-thyng ne liste hym thanne for to crowe But cride anon cok / cok / and vp he sterte As man / that was affrayed in his herte Line 4468 ffor natureelly / a beest desireth flee ffro his contrarie /. if he may it see Though he neuer erst. hadde seyn it with his eye ¶ This Chauntecleer / whan he gan hym espye Line 4472

Page 519

Scan of Page  519
View Page 519
[6-text p 296] Line 4472 He wolde han fled / but that the fox anon Seyde gentil sire / allas wher wol ye gon Be ye affrayed of me / that am youre freend Now certes / I were worse than a feend Line 4476 If I to yow / wolde harm / or vileynye I am nat come / your conseil for tespye But trewely / the cause of my comynge Was oonly / for to herkne how that ye synge Line 4480 ffor trewely / ye haue as myrie a steuene As any Aungel / that is in heuene Ther-with ye han in Musyk moore feelynge Than hadde Boece / or any þat kan synge Line 4484 My lord youre fader / god his soule blesse And eek youre mooder/ of hire gentillesse Han in myn hous ybeen / to my greet ese [folio 188a] And certes sire / ful fayn wolde I yow plese Line 4488 ¶ But for men speke of syngyng I wol yow seye So moote I brouke wel / myne eyen tweye Saue yow / herde I neuere man yet synge As dide youre fader / in the morwenynge Line 4492 Certes / it was of herte / al that he song And for to make / his voys / the moore strong He wolde so peyne hym / that with bothe hise eyen He moste wynke / so loude he wolde cryen Line 4496 And stonden on his tiptoon / ther-with-al And strecche forth his nekke / long and smal And eek he was / of swich discrecion That ther nas / no man in no Region Line 4500 That hym / in song or wisedom myghte passe I haue wel rad / in daun Burnel the Asse Among hise vers / how that ther was a Cok ffor that a preestes sone / yaf hym a knok Line 4504 Vp-on his leg whil he was yong and nyce He made hym / for to lese his benefice But certeyn / ther nys no comparison Bitwixe / the wisedom / and discrecion Line 4508

Page 520

Scan of Page  520
View Page 520
[6-text p 297] Line 4508 Of youre fader / and of his subtiltee Now syngeth sire / for seinte charitee Lat se / konne ye youre fader countrefete ¶ This Chauntecleer / hise wynges gan to bete Line 4512 As man / þat koude his trayson nat espie So was he rauysshed with his flaterie
Allas ye lordes / many a fals flatour Is in youre Courtes / and many a losengeour Line 4516 That plesen yow / wel moore by my feith Than he / that soothfastnesse / vn-to yow seith Redeth Ecclesiaste / of fflaterye Beth war ye lordes / of hir trecherye Line 4520 ¶ This Chauntecleer / stood hye vp on his toos Strecchynge his nekke / and heeld hise eyen cloos And gan to crowe / loude for the nones And daun Russell the fox / stirte vp atones Line 4524 And by the gargat hente Chauntecleer And on his bak / toward the wode hym beer ffor yet ne was ther no man / þat hym sewed ¶ O destinee / that mayst nat been eschewed Line 4528 Allas / þat Chauntecleer / fleigh fro the bemes Allas / his wyf / ne roghte nat of dremes And on a friday / fil al this meschaunce ¶ O Venus / that art goddesse of plesaunce Line 4532 Syn that thy seruant. was this Chauntecleer [folio 188b] And in thy seruyce / dide al his poweer Moore for delit than world to multiplye Why woltestow suffre hym / on thy day to dye Line 4536 ¶ O Gaufred deere Maister souerayn That whan thy worthy kyng Richard was slayn With shot. compleynedest his deeth so soere Why ne hadde I now / thy sentence / and thy loore Line 4540 The friday for to chide / as diden ye ffor on a friday / soothly slayn was he Thanne wolde I shewe yow / how þat I koude pleyne ffor Chauntecleres drede / and for his peyne Line 4544

Page 521

Scan of Page  521
View Page 521
[6-text p 298] Line 4544 ¶ Certes / swich cry / ne lamentacion Was neuere / of ladyes maad / whan Ylion Was wonne / and Pirrus with his streite swerd Whan he hadde hent kyng Priam / by the berd Line 4548 And slayn hym / as seith vs Eneydos As maden / alle the hennes in the clos Whan they had seyn / of Chauntecleer the sighte But sodeynly / dame Pertelote shrighte Line 4552 fful louder/ than dide Hasdrubales wyf Whan þat hir housbonde / hadde lost his lyf And þat the Romayns / hadde brend Cartage She was / so ful of torment and of rage Line 4556 That wilfully / in-to the fyr she sterte And brende hir seluen / with a stedefast herte ¶ O woful hennes / right so criden ye As whan that Nero / brende the Citee Line 4560 Of Rome / cryden senatours wyues ffor þat hir husbondes losten alle hir lyues With-outen gilt this Nero hath hem slayn Now turne I wole /. to my tale agayn Line 4564
This sely wydwe / and eek hir doghtres two Herden thise hennes crie / and maken wo And out at dores / stirten they anon And syen the fox / toward the groue gon Line 4568 And bar vp-on his bak / the Cok away And cryden out harrow / and weylaway Ha. ha / the fox / and after hym they ran And eek with staues / many another man Line 4572 Ran Colle oure dogge / and Talbot and Gerland And Malkyn / with a dystaf / in hir hand Ran Cow and Calf and the verray hogges So fered / for berkyng of the dogges Line 4576 And shoutyng of the men and wommen eek · They ronne so / hem thoughte hir herte breek They yolleden / as feendes doon in helle The dokes cryden / as men wolde hem quelle Line 4580

Page 522

Scan of Page  522
View Page 522
[6-text p 299] Line 4580 The gees for feere / flowen ouer the trees [folio 189a] Out of the hyve / cam the swarm of bees So hydous was the noyse / a benedicitee Certes / he Iakke Straw / and his meynee Line 4584 Ne made neuere / shoutes / half so shille Whan þat they wolden / any flemyng kille As thilke day / was maad vp-on the fox Of bras / they broghten bemes and of box Line 4588 Of horn / of boon / in whiche they blewe and powped And ther-with-al / they skriked / and they howped It semed / as that heuene sholde falle Now goode men / I pray yow herkneth alle Line 4592
Lo / how ffortune / turneth sodeynly The hope / and pryde / of hir enemy This Cok / that lay vpon the foxes bak In al his drede / vn-to the fox he spak Line 4596 And seyde sire / if that I were as ye Yet wolde I seyn / as wys god helpe me Turneth agayn / ye proude cherles alle A verray pestilence / vp-on yow falle Line 4600 Now am I come / vn-to the wodes syde Maugree youre heed / the Cox shal heere abyde I wol hym ete in feith / and that anon ¶ The fox answerde / in feith it shal be don Line 4604 And as he spak that word / al sodeynly This Cok / brak from his mouth delyuerly And heighe vp-on a tree / he fleigh anon And whan the fox saugh / þat he was gon Line 4608 ¶ Allas quod he / o Chauntecleer / allas I haue to yow quod he ydoon trespas In as muche / as I maked yow aferd Whan I yow hente / and broght in to this yerd Line 4612 But sire I dide it. of no wikke entente Com doun / and I shal telle yow what I mente I shal seye sooth to yow / god help me so ¶ Nay thanne quod he / I shrewe vs bothe two Line 4616

Page 523

Scan of Page  523
View Page 523
[6-text p 300] Line 4616 And first I shrewe my self / bothe blood and bones If thou bigyle me / any ofter than ones Thou shalt na moore / thurgh thy flaterye Do me to synge / and wynke with myn eye Line 4620 ffor he that wynketh / whan he sholde see Al wilfully / god lat him neuere thee ¶ Nay quod the fox / but god yeue hym meschaunce That is so / vndiscreet of gouernaunce Line 4624 That Iangleth / whan he sholde holde his pees ¶ Lo swich it is / for to be recchelees And necligent and truste on flaterye ¶ But ye / that holden / this tale a folye Line 4628 As of a fox / or of a Cok and Hen [folio 189b] Taketh the moralite / goode men ffor seint Paul seith / þat al that writen is To oure doctrine / it is ywrite ywis Line 4632 Taketh the fruyt and lat the chaf be stille Now goode god / if that it be thy wille As seith my lord / so make vs alle goode men [¶ scilicet domi|nus Archiepis|copus Cantuari|ensis] And brynge vs / to his heighe blisse Amen
¶ Heere is ended / the Nonnes preestes tale .
Do you have questions about this content? Need to report a problem? Please contact us.